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July 2007

Nijo Castle Honmaru Palace Special Opening Stopped (Ninomaru Palace Available)

23 July 2007

Kyoto City recently assessed the earthquake resistance of Nijo Castle which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a number of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. As a result, it appears that some parts of the castle, including the Honmaru Palace, are not strong enough. To assure the safety of the visitors, the city has stopped the special opening of the Honmaru Palace in spring and autumn. To ensure safety, the rebuilding of the floor and ceiling in the Ninomaru Palace was started and escape stairs were installed. The city will continue to assess the problem and will carry out further maintenance procedures if necessary. The Ninomaru Palace and gardens are open to the public as usual. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Cultural Bureau Nijo Castle Office: Tel: 075-841-0096.

'Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art' Special Exhibition Opens at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

23 July 2007

On July 14th, a special exhibition of 'Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art' opened at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (Okazaki, Sakyo ward). Before the public opening, an opening ceremony was held on July 13th. The mayor of the city, Mr. Masumoto, and Ms. Jennifer Thompson from the Philadelphia Museum of Art attended the ceremony. The exhibit consists of 77 world masterpiece paintings and sculptures from the 250,000 works of art belonging to the Philadelphia Museum of Art including works by Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, O'keeffe, etc. The exhibition will be held at the museum until September 24th. For further information, contact the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art: Tel: 075-771-4107.

The Number of Tourist Visiting Kyoto Exceed 48,000,000

17 July 2007

According to Kyoto City, the number of tourists visiting Kyoto in fiscal 2006 was 48.39 million. This was an increase of 1.12 million over the previous year, the sixth increase in six years. The total amount of money tourists spent (food, souvenirs, etc.) reached 637.1 billion yen, also made a record for three years in a row.
One of the main reasons for the big increase is the Arashiyama Hanatouro held in the winter in the Saga and Arashiyama area. This event started two years ago. In its second year the event attracted 970,000 people (340,000 people more than the first year). Some other tourist promotion projects were also successful, for example, the Kyoto Okoshiyasu College project (to provide experience or education program for tourists) and the establishment of overseas information centers.
The city will make further efforts to reach its goal of welcoming 50 million tourists a year. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Tourism Promotion Section at 075-222-4130.

Gion Festival Kujitori Ceremony Held

17 July 2007

On July 2nd, the Kujitori Ceremony was held. This important Gion Festival event is held to decide the order of 32 floats in the grand parade. The Kujitori Ceremony was started in the late Muromachi period to avoid conflicts among the local float organizations with regards to the parade order. The mayor of Kyoto City attended the ceremony which was also open to the public from 1984.
On the day of the ceremony, local people from each float organization attended the ceremony wearing traditional kimono. Eight floats out of the 32 floats have a fixed order. Representatives of the other 24 floats participated in a lottery to decide the order of their floats. This year, for the first time in 36 years, the second float in the parade (the first is always the Naginata-boko float) was the Ashikari-yama. The grand parade is held on the 17th following the order decided by the ceremony. For further information, contact the Kyoto City Cultural Department Cultural Property Preservation Section at 075-761-7799.

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