According to locals, this much snow only falls once every two years in Kyoto.
With so many unique and historic monuments, Kyoto has one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it one of the most fascinating and beautiful places to visit in all of Japan. While the ancient city has an alluring, atmospheric beauty at any time of the year, there’s one particular time when the temples and shrines here become even more exquisite, and that’s when the area is covered in a white sheet of soft powder snow.
This weekend, Kyoto received its coldest winter days yet, with heavy snowfall hitting the city in what locals say is a rare event that only occurs only once every two years. Despite the intense cold, photographers braved the snow to capture some of the area’s most iconic sites at their most beautiful, creating images that makes us feel like we’ve stepped back in time to the feudal era. Let’s take a look below at some of the gorgeous scenes from the wintry weekend.
The famous Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji, drew a large number of crowds who came to gaze at the glistening beauty of ice crystals contrasted against a shade of brilliant gold.
▼ Tourists and locals alike clamoured to catch a glimpse of Kinkakuji in the snow.
▼ Another iconic spot to draw crowds on the weekend was Kiyomizu-dera.
The view of the snow-covered pagoda was one of the many sights that could be enjoyed in the well-known Higashiyama district.
Arashiyama, to the west of the city center, and its beautiful bamboo forest also became ethereal sites of beauty on the weekend…
…while this photographer stepped out in a blizzard to capture the beauty of Pontocho, a narrow street lined with secluded restaurants, in the snow.
Kifune Jinja held a special free light-up event until 8:00 p.m. so visitors could enjoy the unique atmosphere on the grounds of their Shinto shrine in the evening.
Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates, was another site that enthralled visitors.
It really doesn’t matter when you visit Kyoto, it is one the most beautiful cities in Japan, but you have to admit that a white layer of snow gives it something extra….
Wow that must be the longest title ever, and yeah although I agree that it’s a mouthful, I couldn’t shorten it anymore even if I tried…
Select fashion shop Nano Universe and radio station FLiPLiPS (coolest name ever) announced the sale of a T-shirt created for the upcoming of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra’s(Sukapara in short) concert in Kyoto on April the 15th and the 16th.
As the band’s name suggests, this is a ska band and not your average J-pop group, these boys have the musical skills to back up their game, they are not just a bunch of good looking, fabricated by some clever agency short termers. They have performed at concerts all around the globe and they have established themselves as a true ska band.
Back to the T-shirt..the shirt is designed by Moriya Tsutomu, designer of Ila and art director of several musical acts in Japan.
The design of the shirt is inspired by the petals of cherry blossom which are blown from the trees by strong May winds or hanafubuki as the Japanese call it(flower-storm), which is a strong part of the love the Japanese have for these lovely pink blossomed trees. Its fleeting beauty is as a metaphor for life itself. The Japanese take their hanami or blossom viewing season very serious and although lots of foreigners see the usual hanami parties as just an excuse to drink and be jolly, for Japanese it’s so much more…. kinda like a tulip to a cloggy.
Falling petals for the Japanese and a tulip(glass)for the Dutch
In the center of the shirt you can see Kyoto tower and as an act of selfless promotion, Kyoto Tower has announced that 100 wearers of this T-shirt will get free admission to this tower and you’ll receive a sticker in the same design as the shirt! So if you want to visit Kyoto this year during its most beautiful season then ordering this shirt would be a no-brainer.
This shirt is now up for pre-ordering and will be delivered in April, maybe just in time to wear to the concert and cost ¥ 3,800.
It’s a cold winter no doubt about that, the temperatures have fallen far below the “yeah I love a fresh breeze” limit and we are all suffering because of it…except my Canadian friends, for them a Japanese winter is like a Canadian spring and of course the polar bears.
Even Okinawa, the most southern island of Japan with its tropical climate experienced its first snow…ever! News reports of Okinawans looking at the snowflakes with expressions of pure astonishment are flooding the news channels now as I write.
So how do you protect yourself against the cold and still look fashionable..the answer is; don a pair of octopus tights! Yep or if you’re not into octopus, a mackerel pair of tights.
But let’s get back to the octopus tights, they were created by Onoda Maiko through stereolithography (I admit I had to look that word up) and the octopus legs wrap themselves around the wearers legs from up to down, creating the illusion that the wearer is an …..octopus! They are sexy according to its creator, but we tend to disagree, sexy sure if you’re into being/dating a human octopus….interesting, daring, funny, cute, and yeah cool are more suiting words to describe this product.
They come in three colours black with red legs, white with black and black with pink legs..costing a 3,800 yen.
The mackerel(saba in Japanese) tights only come in white with blue, with the blue part representing the back and the white part the belly of the fish. Mackerel are cold water fish(just made that word up), meaning they thrive in cold seas and should therefore protect you better against the cold than a clown fish pattern…but this is of course pure psychological…or is it?
I have to conclude that they could have used a better way to show off these tights..I have something more like this in mind..
no no don’t judge me being sexist, but I reckon everybody has a different taste and way of coordinating, so a pure view would have been better IMHO..
If you’re not into this whole fishy tights thing, then what do you think of these Japonesque knee-highs from our favorite shop Village Vanguard? Based on the fox/kitsune creatures you can find at Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. These kitsunes are messengers to the inari ( a popular deity ) . Offerings of rice, sake, and other food are given at the shrine to appease and please these kitsune messengers, who are then expected to plead with Inari on the worshipper’s behalf.
They are available in white/red and black/red, with on one leg a fox and on the other a red Torii or shrine gate,
The back is adorned with two foxs and you get real fox pawns on the soles!
Japan’s old capital Kyoto and the kimono create an image of a traditional Japan, a Japan where people respect the old life style as once was before the modernization of our present society. A place where time stands still and all the basics of this island’s customs and traditions live on as they were when the samurai still roamed and ruled this country.
When you visit Kyoto though, you find out how much of the “now” and the “then” have mixed and on the surface it might seem to the casual observer that Kyoto has been swallowed up by modern times and to be spit out in what looks like a huge open air museum. And the way the temples and shrines present themselves as tourist attractions doesn’t help to suppress this feeling of disappointment.
But you don’t have to dig deep to find that old Japan, Kyoto is still the place where the purest forms of Japanese cultural aspects are performed, for example the tea ceremonies, the ikebana flower arrangement, traditional kaiseki food.
Kyoto brands stand for tradition and quality, it’s therefore quiet shocking to see a Kyoto kimono maker take an old concept, and throw it up side down.
Kimono Aya has come up with true extreme kimono designs, which would make the traditional kimono lover freak out, but then traditionalists are easy to freak out anyway….
They combine the techniques of this era with old techniques, they use inkjet (!?) printers as part of the process to create some kimono, they airbrush and even decorate some with Swarovski rhinestones.
Besides these modern made kimono they also enlist some traditional kimono maker to have kimono made according to the old ways. They are a Kyoto company after all and they won’t let an old craft die.
Now let’s check out some of their products;
First up; their Ukiyoe line of “haunted yukata”, a yukata is a casual kimono made of cotton and mostly worn in summer.
Also available as Kimono in Silk,
Now it’s going to get a little weird, have a look at their B.D.U series (battle dress uniform). This is their NWU (navy working uniform ) yukata (cotton)
Next up are their B.D.U. kimono made from the same original cotton as from the clothes they are based on..for example this US Army woodland inspired yukata made from original US military fabric.
This yukata would go great with this tote bag! (or maybe it’s a bit of overkill)
With the B.D.U. series they got the army and navy covered, but what about the airforce? Well for that they went back in time and drew their inspiration from WW2 fighters like; Curtiss P-40 Flying Tiger
Or the P-51 Mustang
Yes they even have a Messerschmitt BF-109!
These are all made of cotton , but for an extra 50.000 yen also available in silk as kimono.
So there you have it, a new twist to an old genre, the cool thing about this is that these yukata or kimono would work well as a robe to walk around at home, since they don’t need a complicated obi (belt). Please don’t mistake, these yukata are high quality and not some cheap knock-off
Interested? Let us know, send us a pm and we’ll help you further with the details!
We can get you anything from Japan to anywhere..the cheapest way!