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January 2007

Promotion for New Scenery Regulation 2007

29 January 2007

Kyoto City is now working on the promotion of new scenery regulations for 2007. The beautiful historical scenery of Kyoto has been changed and lost in part in recent years as a result of fast modern development though they are precious heritages that Kyoto has preserved for 1,200 years. The promotion will work effectively to further damage and stimulate conservation efforts. The committee of preserving historical scenery of Kyoto submitted its mid term report in March 2006 and its final report in November. The city collected citizen opinions concerning the report in December. Based on the opinions from the citizen, the city is now making its final decisions for the new regulation. Some of the opinions are introduced on the city’s website and local newspapers (Feb. 1). For further information, contact the Kyoto City Scenery Planning Section at 075-222-3397.

2007 Special Encouragement for Artists

29 January 2007

Kyoto City gave out awards for artists in 2007. The awarded ceremony was held on January 23rd. The annual award campaign was started in 2000 to encourage young artists based in Kyoto. Mr. Yu Hanabusa, a western painter, was selected this year out of 76 candidates. The city awarded him 3 million yen for his further effort next one year. He studied painting and woodblock printing in Thailand. His unique color sense is highly appreciated by many people. He has held individual exhibitions in Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Arts and Culture Planning Section at 075-222-4105.

Kyoto School Trip Navi Website Launches on March 15

22 January 2007

On January 18th 2007, the mayor, Mr. Masumoto, held his regular press meeting and spoke about a new website project called the ‘Kyoto School Trip Navi’ which will start on March 15th 2007. One of the main goals that the city is working on is to welcome 50 million tourists a year. Kyoto attracts countless school trips from all over Japan but competition with other cities has become more serious because of the low birth rate or because of the rise of airplane travel to other destinations in recent years. The city believes that the website will be useful for students and attract more school trips to Kyoto. This is the first attempt of this kind in Japan. The website will include all necessary information for students: history, culture, sightseeing spots, transportation, etc. Not only student thinking about coming to Kyoto, but also the local students can enjoy the website. The website includes recommended courses for groups and a bulletin board system that teachers can use to post trip comments to parents from the internet and their mobiles phones. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Tourism Promotion Section at 075-222-4133.

Opening Ceremony of the Student City Finance Park

22 January 2007

On January 19th 2007, Kyoto City held an opening ceremony of the Student City Finance Park. This is an education facility where elementary school students and junior high school students can learn about financial situations in society which are simulations of what the real world is like. Banks, shops, newspaper companies, city hall and other businesses were built in the old Shigeno Junior High School building to make an artificial city. Elementary school students can experience sell-buy systems as they pretend to be sellers and consumers. Junior high school students can learn about tax and insurance systems. During the ceremony, the mayor Mr. Masumoto and students made speeches. After the ceremony, students experimented using the facility. The city will work on further development for education. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Educational Board Student City Finance Park Project Section at 075-253-0880.

Personal Bag Possession and Plastic Bag Reduction Agreement Concluded with Companies

15 January 2007

Kyoto City entered an agreement to places personal-use garbage bags in supermarkets on January 10th 2007. Three companies and eight citizen organizations agreed. This is the first program of this kind in Japan. Companies will take specific actions to achieve the goal of reducing the number of plastic bags consumed. The citizen organizations will inform citizens about the project and help the companies and support companies. The City Committee of Promoting Paid-for Plastic Bags will make further publicity efforts. By reducing the number of the plastic bags, it will lead to a reduction in the green house effect and promote a recyclable society system. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Circulative Society Planning Section at 075-222-4091.

Fire Department New Year’s Ceremony

15 January 2007

On January 11th, 2007, Kyoto City held a ceremony for the fire department at Kyoto Kaikan. On that day about 3,000 people joined the ceremony including fire department staff members and citizens. In the ceremony, a parade, fire extinction drill, lifesaving drill and water discharge show by small fire engines were held. After the ceremony, an earthquake experiment corner and home fire alarm display were opened to the public in the Okazaki Park and many people learned about the importance of disaster prevention. There are some active faults under the city which could cause a big earthquake. Each citizen must be aware of this and become informed about disaster prevention. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Fire Department at 075-212-6629.

Ideas for Municipal Policy Evaluation Ordinances (tentative title)

8 January 2007

The mayor of Kyoto City, Mr. Masumoto, declared in his New Year’s press meeting on January 4th 2007, that the city is developing specific ideas for a Municipal Policy Evaluation Ordinance (tentative title). The basic principal, called the New Kyoto City Urban Management Plan, will be designed for comprehensive and strategic municipal policy promotion, renovation and finance reformation. It will strongly support previous municipal policy. For example, the plan includes the following 3 important items: 1) to make 7 evaluation systems permanent and continual; 2) to develop an evaluation system method that is efficient and meaningful; 3) to realize a citizen oriented evaluation system based on the opinions from citizens. The plan appears to be a pioneering approach in Japan. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Municipal Policy Planning Section at 075-222-3035.

Jakucho Setouchi and Sensaku Shigeyama Given the Kyoto City Honored Citizen Prize

8 January 2007

Kyoto City has decided to give the Kyoto City Honored Citizen Prize to a novelist, Ms. Jakucho Setouchi, and the Kyogen performer, Mr. Sensaku Shigeyama. The prize is given to Kyoto City citizens or someone strongly connected to the city who has made a large contribution to public welfare, or in an academic and art related field. Ms. Setouchi who lives in a quaint resident in Sagano has released a number of excellent novels as well as giving people hope by preaching as a Buddhist nun. She also translated the Tale of Genji in modern speech and for which she received the Award of Culture in 2006. Mr. Shigeyama has strongly contributed to the founding of the Citizens Kyogen Association. He still actively performs kyogen today. He has also displayed his talent for writing new kyogen pieces and the performance of modern plays. He visits schools in Japan and perform overseas to spread the beauty of kyogen. After getting approval from City Council, they will receive the prize in the City’s Autonomy Memorial Ceremony held on October 15th 2007. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Secretariat Section at 075-222-3066.

Nijo Castle Garden New Year’s Special Public Opening

1 January 2007

The garden of Nijo Castle was opened to the public between January 2nd and 4th 2007 as a New Year’s special opening. Not only the garden viewing but also exhibition hall, tea ceremony and other events were held. On the 3rd and 4th, street performances and a Japanese drum concert were held. The entry fee was \400 for adult and \200 for children under 18 years old. People dressed in kimono were free of charge. Some events were not free. The castle is open between 10:00 and 16:00 (entry until 15:00). Please note that no entry to the Ninomaru Palace between January 2nd and 4th. The regular opening starts from January 5th.

New Generation Light Rail Transit System ‘LRT’ Plan Started

1 January 2007

Kyoto City is now considering the construction of a new ‘LRT’ (Light Rail Transit) to avoid its present car oriented transportation system and to create a city which people can enjoy walking around. LRT are environmentally friendly and barrier-free. From January 24th 2007, a traffic experiment started on Imadegawa Street between Kitano Hakubaicho and Demachiyamagi. A bus service connecting those two points will be used to determine to see how the LRT system will work and to find problems. The service is available between 10:00 and 13:00, and the bus will run every 10 minutes. Only one car road will be used for this experiment. Please don’t park your car on the side of the road. Traffic jam problems are expected to rise along Imadegawa Street. Please understand and cooperate with the experiment.

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