Kansai
Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Over the past three years, I’ve researched, photographed and written extensively about the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) in Kyoto and its fictional alter ego, the Usagiyama Shōtengai from the Kyoto Animation series Tamako Market and film Tamako Love Story. I’ve used the real shopping arcade to explain urbanism and machizukuri (街づくり town making) concepts, and...
Eizan Electric Railway K-On! Walk

Eizan Electric Railway K-On! Walk

For my last day on a stay in Kyoto, I had wanted to get away from the city center and have a good, meditative walk. The original plan was to follow the full length of the Eizan Electric Railway (叡山電鉄) Kurama Line, from Demachiyanagi all the way up through the hills to Kurama-dera. In the...
Ryoma-dori Shotengai

Ryoma-dori Shotengai

Ryōma-dōri Shōtengai (竜馬通り商店街) is a 130 meter open air pedestrian shopping street in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Originally, my walk plan for this area of the city just included Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai and Nayamachi Shōtengai, the two covered shopping streets around Fushimi-Momoyama Station. When I emerged from the end of Nayamachi I saw this photogenic street...
Nayamachi Shotengai

Nayamachi Shotengai

Nayamachi Shōtengai (納屋町商店街), alternatively known as Passage Nayamachi 5-bangai (パッサージュなやまち5番街), is a 170 meter covered pedestrian shopping street in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Together with Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai, it forms an ‘L’ shaped continuous covered pedestrian route from Fushimi-Momoyama Station into the surrounding districts to the west. Like Ōtesuji, the street traces its roots as a...
Fushimi Otesuji Shotengai

Fushimi Otesuji Shotengai

Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai (伏見大手筋商店街) is a 400 meter covered pedestrian shopping street that begins at Fushimi-Momoyama Station on the Keihan Main Line and runs west along Ōtesuji-dōri in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. The promotion association that currently manages the arcade formally organized in 1966, but the history of the shopping street reaches much farther back, deep...
Kyoto Sanjokai Shotengai

Kyoto Sanjokai Shotengai

Kyōto Sanjōkai Shōtengai (京都三条会商店街) appears to be a public space in transition. On my visit, it has a noticeably desolate air about it, but later reading seems to hint that a new generation is slowly returning to the large, covered shopping street, in an effort to halt its decline and breathe new life into the neglected...
Animation, Urbanism and Tamako Market: A Discussion with Moriwaki Kiyotaka

Animation, Urbanism and Tamako Market:
A Discussion with Moriwaki Kiyotaka

Even before the release of preview footage, with only a handful of promotional images and a very short description, I knew Tamako Market (たまこまーけっと), created and produced by Kyoto Animation (京都アニメーション), was something I would want to give special attention. At the end of 2012, I had been writing about urbanism in anime for about...
Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 2

Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 2

It was just one day shy of a year since I had last stepped in the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街), a small covered pedestrian shopping arcade near the intersection of Kawaramachi and Imadegawa, between the Kamo River delta and backside of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. I had quickly run through earlier in the afternoon, on...
Kamo River Walk

Kamo River Walk

My first afternoon arriving in Kyoto on a recent visit began with a last minute addition to the schedule, lunch with fellow flâneur Michael Lambe. As the editor of recently published Deep Kyoto Walks, Michael understands the meditative power of a good walk through the historic capital better than most. It’s immensely reassuring to make a...
Shijo Kawaramachi

Shijo Kawaramachi

Temples, shrines, mountains and machiya dominate most marketing collateral and media coverage concerning Kyoto. However, as The Eternal City morphed from Heian-kyō to its contemporary form, it retained its role as a center of commerce and now cradles a modern urban core in the Yamashiro Basin. There are two primary urban nodes. The ultra-modern, recent...
Takase River Walk

Takase River Walk

Suminokura Ryōi (角倉 了以) was a preeminent Kyoto-based merchant and shipper active during the rule of both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu in the late 16th and early 17th century. His most enduring mark on the city was the creation of several canals as part of broader river navigation improvement efforts to facilitate shipping in...
Pontocho

Pontocho

Pontochō (先斗町) is a pedestrian alley lined with upscale tea houses, restaurants and bars in downtown Kyoto, running north-south from Sanjō-dōri to Shijō-dōri, flanked by the rowdier Kiyamachi-dōri nightlife district a few meters to the west and the Kamo River on the opposite side. The alley is built on reclaimed land that was part of...