Taking place on January 4th, the Shin Aisatsu (新挨拶) or New Year’s Greeting of the Kamishichiken Hanamachi (Geisha District) is the first “event” of the year around Kyoto’s Kagai (another word for the so-called “flower town” or geisha world of Kyoto).
Coming of Age Day (成人の日 or Seijin no Hi) is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have turned 20 years old over the past year and to help them realize that they have become adults.
On January 13th, all the Maiko and Geiko of the Gion Kobu Hanamachi (flower town or geisha district) visit the house of their teacher, Yachiyo Inoue, the master of Gion Kobu’s dance school, the Inoue School of Dance, to thank her for her service and present their best wishes for the New Year.
I love this photograph of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. It’s almost a black and white photograph except for the gold of the temple. The snow adds to the delicacy of the image and helps to exude a wintery atmosphere.
by Sue Barr, Expert judge for the contest
The Heian Jingu Shrine garden, in Winter
We went to the shrine to see how the Japanese people welcome the new year. This place, being one of the major Shinto shrines in town, there were, of course, a lot of people. The garden, on the other hand, was almost empty.