Fire ceremony "Agematsu"
There is a famous sacred bonfire in Kyoto "Gozan no okuribi" or "Daimonji", but also there are traditional fire ceremony in the moutainous areas of Kyoto. It's called "Age Matsu" or "Matsu Age". There is a shrine called Atago jinja shrine in Kyoto. The shrine represents protection from fire. So the locals have this ceremony with the wishes and the gratitudes of fire protection and rich harvest and health. We have this ceremony in Ojio area Keihoku on Saturday, August 24th.Local men throw torches into a big wooden container thing(2meters in diameter, 4meters in height.) on 15meters high pole called "Tourogi" with yelling diety's name. It's exciting to have a look. If you want to have a look, better to come with your own car or by taxi.Local transportations are not working on this time.There is parking space at the place.・Ojio Agematsu Date: Saturday, August 24th 20:00〜 Adress: Ojiocho, Keihoku, Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto
I hear "Wheeen!" sound from fields at this time of year,It's the sound of a mower.In this season, vegetables grow rapidly, but also grasses grow rapidly.Actually, mowing is very important in Keihoku life.If you cut the grass properly, you will be recognized as "a decent person".because if you don't cut the grass, they grow like a wild and it will be harder to cut them.And many insects proliferate and damage crops.To get notice venomous snakes in the grass, it's easier not to have long grass.So it's better to cut them.However, I need it done.And be a decent person!Mowing the grass with a potable mower can be a good exercise, and you feel refreshed after you finish.I move forward little by little while swinging the mower like a pendulum of a clock.I twist my hip while doing it that might work on my body to have a pretty curved waist. well, I wish.Mowing is repeating the same movement. It's tiring but makes me runner's high after doing a while."Mowing the grass is not a job! It's an exercise!"With that as my motto, I will enjoy the mowing this year.
Mecca of Ayu fishing
Have you ever taste Ayu(sweetfish)?Ayu is one of the most popular river fish in Japan.It's really tasty if like river fish. And they have a different taste by the river (temperature, water, and moss).If you haven't tried ayu yet, I recommend you to try to taste the summer of Japan.They are anadromous fish like a salmon. They get born in downstream and go to the ocean. And then they come up to the river in the spring and they go down the river to lay eggs and finish their life.We don't have a real wild ayu in Keihoku. because we have a dam in our river.So Ayu fishes cannot come up.Kamikatsura river fishery cooperatives release the baby Ayu fishes into the river every year.Keihoku locals used to offer ayu fishes to the imperial family from the 8th century to the 19th century.Because Keihoku's ayu is really good quality.Ayu like a clean river and eat the mosses.So Keihoku's Kamikatsura river is a perfect place for them.To fish Ayu, we use a unique fishing method called "Tomozuri".Ayu have a habit to have a territory and if another ayu comes into ayu's the territory it would attack another ayu.Tomozuri is using that ayu's habit to fish ayu.Put an alive ayu on hook and let it swim to another ayu's territory and another ayu attack the ayu then catch ayu by the other hook.※To fish ayu, you need to buy a ticket.Price of the recreational fishing ticket (free for the age of under 18 years old.)AyuAnnual ticket 13,900 yen (site charge 16,600 yen)Daily ticket 4,500 yen From June 27 (field charge 6,700 yen)AmagoAnnual ticket 5,200 yen (site charge 6,200 yen)Daily ticket 2,000 yen (site charge 3,000 yen)Miscellaneous fishAnnual ticket 2,300 yen (site charge 2,700 yen)Daily ticket 700 yen (site charge 800 yen)※ As fishing fees are used for the release, please cooperate.
There are three well-known festivals in Kyoto, Aoi Matsuri, and Gion Matsuri, and Jidai Matsuri.May 15 is the day of Aoi Matsuri, the oldest festival of Kyoto since 567 AC.It's a festival of harvest.About 500 people parade dressed in Heian era kimono costumes from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kamigamo shrine.There is a shrine called Kamo shrine since 1,000 years that is the branch shrine of Kamigamo shrine in Keihoku.Every local gathered in the shrine and had a festival on May 15th too.A deity of thunder is enshrined in the shrine. So we pray for rich harvests and safe from thunder.Our lumberjacks will be safe not getting struck by lightning. What do you think this is?This is katsura branch with aoi (hollyhock) leaves.Every local put this in front of the house.So this is an amulet for protection from thunder.This custom has been inherited from a thousand years ago,It is great that people of Keihoku really cherish their belief and culture. Thankfully I got an amulet for our house, so our family and the house won't get struck by lighting this year.
Do you know herb called mugwort (Yomogi in Japansese)? We harvest mugwort new leaves by hand in spring time. And make a Yomogi mochi.Mugwort have very good flavor and taste. It's good for health as well.You can buy grandmas' handmade yomogi mochi at Keihoku Yamaguni Sakigake center.Plese visit Keihoku to taste the spring!Keihoku Yamaguni Sakigake centerhttp://sakigake.net/〒 601-032132 Miyanomae Tocho, Keihoku, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto CityTEL (075) 853-0572Access:1 minute walk from the bus stop "in front of Yamakuni Clinic"by Keihoku Furusato Bus.Please check the Have an old cherry tree in Satoyama all to yourself to get to know good cherryblossoms viewing spots and restrant infomations in Keihoku.
Keihoku history telling
The other day, I joined the Keihoku history telling event at "Kikuya cafe" in Kuroda Keihoku. Keihoku's 3 legends are invited as teller were born in 1940 in Keihoku. They told us their lifestyle were different from now when they are young. And said "Remembering the old days, everything is convenient now" with their smile.No raw seafood in those days in mountain area, all fishes like mackerels, salmons, herrings were salt preserved.Every family made miso and soy source at home.No motor tractors for farming, using cows for cultivating the farm.What I was most interested in was that forestry has been supported the economy of Keihoku so long ago, locals used made a raft using logs and flowed down to Kyoto city central. And the rafters walked back to Keihoku through the snowed mountain trail. What tough people they were! It would have been a much harder than I could imagine.The owner says "let more people know about Keihoku and I love to vitalize Keihoku " If you are interested in living in rural Japan, why not visit us? Some foreigners are living in Keihoku area and mountainous Kyoto area.Kuroda Satonoeki Project (Kikuya cafe) http://kuroda-satonoeki.jp/
A suspicious box 2
Did you read the article about a suspicious box writen by other staff? We have another similar local custom in my area too! A day before yesterday, there was a wooden box at the entrance of my house. Inside the box is ... Many candles!! Can you guess for what?We use these candles for lighting up stone lantern at our local shrine.I went to there and lit the candles.Then I prayed peace and safe for my neighbors and for my family. This traditional custom has being kept for over a few hundreds years untill today.
A suspicious box
One day, one year has passed we moved to our house.I went back home and opened a front door.There was an old wooden box in the porch.?????"Whose box is this?"My wife was out of the house for the night. I was just myself.I live in middle of nowhere in the mountain, I was scared and it gave me chills.Fox? Snow woman?You might think I'm bit funny, but I was so serious felt something and went out the house and try to see something.But there was nothing around my house.So I went back to the front and opened the suspicious box.Nothing in there.Phew.I was starting at a sudden cries of deer.So I made a phone call to my wife.And she said "I have no idea what you are talking about. You can ask our neighbor might know it."Then I called my neighbor. He said"Uh huh?? Oh yes yes, I see that's our local tradition, we use that old box and offer a festive red rice to the local shrine for wishing of rich harvest."I see, that makes sence. It's very nice to have a uniqe tradition, but I don't want to get scared...