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december infomation


■ Scenery of the End of the Year in Japan


In Japan, December is called 'Shiwasu', which actually means `the busiest month of the year'.
People are in a rush to welcome a new year with a clean state, all work and cleaning need to be done by the end of the year.
During the month, you can see various customs and practices to finish up the old year and to prepare for a new year.


Kotohajime at Gion

Kotohajime, is the traditional ritual, the start of New Year preparations in Geisha districts.
Geishas and Maiko, apprentice Geishas, visit their masters to express their gratitude for the past year and best wishes for the year to come.
You may spot some of them if you walk around the Gion district on this day.

  • [ Gion district ]
  • Access : City Bus No.206 "Gion"

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Kakure Nenbutsu ( Nenbutsu Dance) at Rokuharamitsuji Temple
DEC.13 - DEC.30 pm4:00
Rokuharamitsuji Temple

Unique style of Nenbutsu, prayer to the Buddha, started by the holy priest Kuya in 951 to help the people in Kyoto from epidemics.
Priests chant/dance the prayer wishing people to expiate the sins of the past year and to have a happy new year. ( daily around 4:00PM)

  • [ Rokuharamitsuji Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-561-6980
    Access : City Bus No.206 "Kiyomizu-michi"
Veranda of Kiyomizu Temple

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DEC.20 Nishi-Honganji Temple am7:00.Higashi-Honganji Temple am9:00
Both Higashi and Nishi Honganji Temple

Susu-harai is a ritual cleaning ceremony. Priests and parishioners beat the dust out of the tatami in the large halls to prepare for the New Year.

  • [ Nishi-Honganji Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-371-5181
    Access : City Bus No.9 "Nishi-Honganji"
  • [ Higashi-Honganji Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-371-9181
    Access : 5min. walk from JR

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Ominugui-shiki at Chion-in Temple
DEC.25 pm1:00
Chion-in Temple

Ominugui-shiki is a ritual cleaning ceremony. Adoring the benevolence of the holy priest, Honen, priests polish the wooden statue of Honen with a pure, white silk cloth.

  • [ Chion-in Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-531-2111
    Access : City Bus No.206 "Chion-in"

KINOE Ryokan

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Okera Mairi at Yasakajinja Shrine

A sacred fire called Okera is lit at the Shrine from the evening until dawn on January 1st.
A large number of people visit the shrine to worship and bring home a flame from the sacred fire with which they cook the first meal of the coming year. How to bring ?
By a special rope !
The sacred fire is believed to have good health throughout the year.

  • [ Yasaka Jinja Shrine ]
  • Tel : 075-561-6155
    Access : City Bus No.206 "Gion"
  • Similar event also held in Kitano-tenmangu Shrine
  • [ Kitano-tenmangu Shrine ]
  • Tel : 075-461-0005
    Access : City Bus No.50 "Kitano-tenmangu"
Veranda of Kiyomizu Temple

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■ Flea Markets


Monthly flea markets get particularly lively this month. Antiques, old kimono & obi, ethnic goods, food, tools are sold there, best places to experience the local life.


Toji Temple Shimai Kobo
DEC.21 am8:00-pm4:00
  • [ Toji-Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-691-3325
    Access : Kintetsu Railway "Toji" Station
Veranda of Kiyomizu Temple

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Kitano-tenmangu Shrine Shimai Tenjin
Kitano-tenmangu Shrine
  • [ Kitano-tenmangu Shrine ]
  • Tel : 075-461-0005
    Access : City Bus No.50 "Kitano-tenmangu"
Veranda of Kiyomizu Temple

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■ Daikon Daki ( Radish Boiling )


The ceremonial boiling of huge white radishes. It's believed eating radish keeps poeple healthy and safe.


Sanpoji Temple
NOV.30 - DEC.1 am10:00-pm2:00


  • [ Sanpoji Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-462-6540
    Access : JR Bus "Sanpoji"


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Senbon Shakado Temple
DEC.7 - DEC.8


  • [ Senbon-shakado Temple ]
  • Tel : 075-461-5973
    Access : City Bus No.50 "Kamishichiken"
Veranda of Kiyomizu Temple

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