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Christmas Dinner & Music in Kyoto 2014

~Things to do in Kyoto this Christmas!~
Here is a listing for dinner options and other events this holiday season. A number of locations will be serving Christmas dinner – but reservations must be made in advance and you will need to book it fast! In no particular order…

Tadg’s Gastro Pub will be serving Christmas Dinner at 6pm from the 20th to the 26th of December. The charge is 3,500 yen per person. To reserve, please contact Tadg: 075-213-0214. Check the menu details below.
Location: A short walk north of Oike on the east side of Kiyamachi. Here is a MAP.


Cafe Foodelica are serving Christmas dinner from 7pm on the 23rd and 24th of December. The charge is 3,500 yen per person. Check the menu below. Reservations should be made by the 21st to 075-703-5208.
Location: On the South side of Kitayama-dori, between Shugakuin station and Kitashirakawa-dori. Just a minute’s walk East of the Eiden Shugakuin station. Look for the red door. Here is a MAP.

foodelicaFoodelica Xmas Dinner Menu
*Complimentary Foodelica Winter Warmer Cocktail
*Picardie-style Crèpe Gratinée with Home-cured Ham and Mushrooms
*Rouge et Vert Marine Red Cabbage and Apple Salad
*il Rossaverde ‘X’mas Special’ Pasta
*Carbonade à la Flambade Beef Stewed in Beer with Onions or Huîtres a la *Crème Grilled Fresh Oysters in Cream sauce
(both pictured above)
*‘Eastern Promise’ Special Dessert

The Gael Irish Pub is serving a Christmas Dinner Plate for 2,000 yen from the 22nd to the 25th. See the menu below. Please make reservations at 075-525-0680.
Location: On the 2nd floor of the Oto building on Nawate Dori across from the Minamiza Theatre. Come out of exit 8 of Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and turn right and right again up the north side of the underground car park. Look up for the Irish flag and Guinness sign on the building at the end of the road. Here is a MAP.

Tom’s Burger Bar, despite having closed for regular business a couple of months back, is still serving Christmas dinner! A few spaces are still left for Christmas dinner on December 23rd at 6:00pm. The price for a full turkey dinner and a glass of champagne is 3800 yen. See details with the picture below. To make a booking call 075-703-3711 or email
Location: 5min walk from Ichijo-ji Station of Eizan line. Tom’s is on the street behind the Karaoke shop on Higashi-oji St., next to the curry shop. MAP.

Tom's Christmas Dinner: "Roast turkey, stuffing, mountains of mashed potato and lots of fresh veggies Pots of hot gravy, festive soup, and a real traditional Xmas pudding with brandy butter, even a wafer thin mint with your coffee to top it all off when you are just too stuffed to eat another bite."

Tom’s Christmas Dinner: “Roast turkey, stuffing, mountains of mashed potato and lots of fresh veggies Pots of hot gravy, festive soup, and a real traditional Xmas pudding with brandy butter, even a wafer thin mint with your coffee to top it all off when you are just too stuffed to eat another bite.”

Papa Jon’s Eatery is serving Christmas Dinner on December 24th only. The charge is 3,200 yen. See the menu below. Reservations should be made to 075-211-1600.
Location: Papa Jon’s Eatery is on the 3rd floor of the Shimpukan complex, which sits on the east side of Karasuma a short walk south of Oike. Here is a MAP.
Papa Jon's Christmas
Papa Jon’s Eatery is also hosting a Christmas musical event “Canciones & Christmas Carols” on the 23rd with a special Christmas buffet. Charles Roche says,

Ayaka Tanimoto – Mezzo Soprano (graduate of Royal College of Music in London) and Kumi Matsuo – Piano (also a graduate of RCM) will be performing an evening of Light Opera and Christmas Duets. This is a great opportunity to hear this talented world class duo in an informal setting.

We are preparing a Seasonal Christmas Buffet including Chestnut Pumpkin Soup (warm your innards), hors d’oeuvres (to remind you that you will never be able to correctly spell that word), assorted salads, etc.

Ayaka’s and Kumi-san’s intention is to make this event casual and “accessible”, so no black tie puleeze. Quote Ms. Tanimoto, “We want to introduce our music to a new audience”.


Entrance: ¥2500 per person (including buffet)
Papa Jon’s Eatery is limited to 40 seats
Reservations are recommended (open seating)
Call (075) 211 1600
Doors open: 5:30PM
Buffet from: 6:00PM
Performance: 7:00PM

Other Christmassy Events:

MessiahAll Doshisha presents Handel’s Messiah at Kyoto Concert Hall
Date: Tuesday 24th December
Doors open: 17:00
Place: Kyoto Concert Hall
Ticket and reservation details in my previous post here: Handel’s Messiah ~ The 50th Christmas Concert from Doshisha

O-minugui Shiki at Chion-in Temple
Our friend John Dougill’s recommendation for a truly Kyoto Christmas is a magnificent Buddhist ceremony held every year on December 25th. Read all about it here: A Kyoto Christmas

…And if there any Christmas dinner or event options I have missed, then please add them in the comments. Joys of the season to you all!

Handel’s Messiah ~ The 50th Christmas Concert from Doshisha

Every year Doshisha University puts on a Christmas performance of Handel’s masterpiece, “Messiah”, at Kyoto Concert Hall and this year is the 50th!

The annual All Doshisha Messiah Concert is hugely popular with members of the local community, as well as with the students, graduates, teachers and staff of Doshisha…. All the performers do their best to make it a Christmas to remember.

All Doshisha Messiah Concert 24th December 2014
Doors open: 17:00
Show begins: 18:00
(B seats open from 16:30)

Place: Kyoto Concert Hall [Access]
S seats [Should be reserved in advance]:2000円
A seats [Should be reserved in advance]:1500円
B seats [Can be bought on the day]:1000円

Tickets can be bought via
Ticket Pia: TEL 0570-02-9999コード 243-954)
Kyoto Concert Hall Ticket Agency: TEL 075-711-3090
Doshisha University Co-operative: TEL 0774-65-8376
Or reserved online: here.

Inquiries (in Japanese) to:
All Doshisha Messiah Concert Committee (全同志社メサイア演奏会実行委員会) TEL 080-3864-2412 (Ibuki)

Please check the Christmas Concert website for further details (Japanese):

Bliki Circus Are Back on Stage at Urbanguild on December 18th!!

After a two year hiatus – Bliki Circus are back!

Bliki flyer

Bliki Circus is an acoustic gypsy/punk group in Kyoto, Japan. Their music is reminiscent of traditional folk music from Japan, Eastern Europe and Russia, spiced with touches of Klezmer, tango, jazz, rock, and punk, and whatever else comes up.

If you have seen Bliki Circus before, you know you are ensured a great night out! If you haven’t, take my word for it! Don’t miss this show if you get the chance!

Date: Thursday December 18th
Doors Open: 18:30
Show Starts: 19:00
Charge: 2000 yen
Tickets in Advance: 1800 yen
All tickets include one drink order.

Location: UrBANGUILD. From Sanjo Dori go down Kiyamachi Dori. This is the narrow street running alongside Takase stream. Urbanguild is on the east side (left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo). Walk approximately 150 metres. Its on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

bliki flyer reverse
See also: Images and Sound from Bliki Circus

Whisper of the Land – Visions of Japan: Ed Levinson Talk & Book Signing

Here’s an upcoming event of interest hosted by Cafe Foodelica.


Edward Levinson is an American photographer and writer living in Japan for 35 years. He will be speaking about his approach to photography, writing, and life with visual examples and readings from his new book of essays “Whisper of the Land”. The talk will be mainly in English with a little Japanese as necessary. Signed copies of his books will be available for purchase.

Date & Time: Sunday December 14th 16:00–18:00
Admission: ¥1000, including coffee or tea and snack.
RSVP to 075-703-5203 or foodelica[at] by December 13th, 8pm please.

ed pic

Shakuhachi & Piano Concert with Yoshida Koichi, Ikeda Ippei & Carmen Alvarez

shakuhachipiano january concert

Yoshida Nazarov Koichi is coming home to Kyoto! After two years performing music in Russia and Europe, shakuhachi player Yoshida Nazarov Koichi will return to Japan this January, and play his first performance at the legendary Zac Baran! Playing once again with his former bandmate, the jazz pianist Ikeda Ippei, Koichi has a fresh new batch of original tunes, traditional numbers and covers from all genres! As an added bonus, our good friend, the flamenco singer and dancer Carmen Alvarez, will also be joining in the night’s entertainments.

Date: January 10th 2015
Doors open: 18:00
Start : 19:30
Charge: ¥1800
Place:Zac Baran 

Shakuhachi: Yoshida Nazarov Koichi:
Piano: Ikeda Ippei:
Guest Artist: Carmen Alvarez from Spain, flamenco dancer and singer:

See also: Video of Koichi’s band Yugao with Carmen Alvarez at Zac Baran

People & Nature in SouthEast Asia: A January Screening @ Kyoto University

via Mario Lopez,

On January 14th 2015, there will be a film forum at Kyoto University to screen five documentaries by independent, young film-makers from Southeast Asia on the topic of people and nature. All of the films are subtitled in both English and Japanese.

poster (Medium) (Medium)

Click to download this poster.

From the sky to the mountains, forests to mangroves, fields to orchards and animals to insects,what is the relationship between people and nature in Southeast Asia? How do people connect with their environments? In what ways do they think about, feel, touch, speak and share their surroundings in their societies, and through their cultures? This year, the visual documentary project presents five short documentaries, by young Southeast Asian filmmakers in the region,selected by an international committee for screening in Japan.

Date: January 14th, 2015
Time: 13:30 – 18:00
Participation: Free to All
Venue: Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall
Language: Japanese/English [with Interpreter]
Organizer: Center for Southeast Asia Studies
Co-organizer: Japan Foundation Asia Center

For more details and information on the lineup of documentaries please visit the official website here: Visual Documentary Project 2014

Deep Nara #1 – Kojiki Exhibition

IMG_7259 (Medium)

Last month Mewby and I went down to Nara and took in the Kojiki exhibition currently ongoing at Nara Prefectural Art Museum. I would happily recommend the exhibition as a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of every aspect of Japan’s oldest book. Whether, you are interested in the deepest roots of Japanese culture, ancient mythology and the glorious art it has inspired, or in the very dodgy political interpretations that have attached themselves to the book, it’s all there for you in the Kojiki exhibition. I wrote a bit about it for John Dougill’s Green Shinto blog, and he was kind enough to post my review today.

八岐大蛇退治図 鈴木松年 - Susanoo slays the eight headed dragon. Suzuki Shonen, 1871.

八岐大蛇退治図 鈴木松年 – Susanoo slays the eight headed dragon. Suzuki Shonen, 1871.

The Kojiki or Record of Ancient Matters is a collection of myths detailing the creation of the Japanese archipelago, along with stories of the first Gods, heroes and emperors. Compiled in 712 it is the oldest book in Japanese. It is also notoriously difficult to read, even in translation. The exhibition’s own stated aim is to overcome this difficulty and help the visitor to look beyond the text’s ancient language and obscure cosmological convictions, to the lives and emotions of the people from whose culture these legends sprang. To do this they have gathered art and archaeological materials from city museums and private locations across Japan that provide a thoroughly immersive Kojiki experience. The result is a comprehensive overview of this book’s place in Japan’s cultural history. We spent a good afternoon at the exhibition learning that the text of the Kojiki, and its mythological contents, have been not only a rich source of creative inspiration, but also historically of propaganda and political influence. In both regards it is a fascinating story!

You can read the rest of this article here:

The good news is that the Kojiki exhibition is FREE for foreigners, but you’d better be quick as it finishes on December 14th. You can find more details in Japanese and a map to the Museum are here:

See also: Songs and Stories of the Kojiki retold by Yoko Danno

Contemporary Ink Painting Exhibition @ Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts & Culture

sumiThe Kyoto Contemporary Ink Painting (京都現代水墨選抜展) began today at Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts & Culture (京都府立文化芸術会館). Our friend, the sumi artist Christine Flint Sato, has a work on display there so I thought I would pop in and have  look. Expecting typical sumi works in black and white I was surprised at how colorful many of the works were.

While I was there a lady asked me if any of the works had impressed me at all, and I immediately pointed to an atmospheric painting of a passage through the woods. The lady was very happy to hear this, for by pure chance that was her very own painting!


Nagara Yasuko and her work 秋 麗 or “Autumn Grace”

I was taken aback when she told me she had only been practicing ink painting for a year or two. All credit to her teacher Okada Ikuko pictured below with her work 明日へ, “For Tomorrow”.


Twenty-three works are on display by twenty-three artists, and they display a wide variety of style and theme. If you are in the area, it is certainly worth a look. The exhibition is free to enter and continues until December 7th.
Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts & Culture is on the west side of Kawaramachi just below Imadegawa. Here is a MAP.

Free sake tasting at Machiya in Kyoto by Nihonsakari;13th December

From Kenji Fukuda,


machiya 1Nihonsakari Co. Ltd., a sake brewery located in Nishinomiya-city Hyogo will hold a free sake tasting event at a cozy Machiya (traditional merchant house) in central Kyoto.
Please give your valued opinions through a questionnaire!

Date: Saturday the 13th December 2014
Times (two sessions):
1st session: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. <Limited to 40 guests>
2nd session: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. <Limited to 40 guests>

machiya 2

Sake sampling and questionnaire and free sake with some snacks at each session.
Place: Chionsha (Machiya, traditional merchant house)
3 minutes on foot from Subway Karasuma Oike Station

sake cups*To reserve your space, please choose which session (1st or 2nd) you would like to attend and send an e-mail with your name and nationality to Kenji Fukuda (kenji.fukuda[at] by the 10th December 2014.
*All guests must be 20 years and older (the legal drinking age in Japan) as we ask you to drink alcoholic beverages.
*Please do not come to the event by car, motor bike or bicycle as we ask you to drink alcoholic beverages in the event.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kenji Fukuda at: kenji.fukuda[at]

See also:

Brian Williams Exhibition at Takashimaya, Kyoto; 11/26 – 12/2

On my way home from work earlier today, I stopped off to admire a magnificent display of golden autumn leaves at Nishi-Hongan-ji.

IMG_0450 (Medium)

When I got home I found in my mailbox the following flyer from Brian Williams, featuring his painting of the very same tree!

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And from the very same angle! Serendipitous in the extreme! Well, Brian’s wonderful paintings are now on display on the 6th floor of Takashimaya in Kyoto until December 2nd. Brian himself says,


It’s my own little triennalle at Kyoto Takashimaya again… This time with a focus on the grand old capital itself: over half the works are views of Kyoto. In an unexpected wrinkle, the store has asked me to give a gallery talk in English, at 4 pm on Saturday the 29th. It would be nice to see you, either then or at any time during the show. I’ll be there every day, ready to give you a wave. And my parabolic paintings will wave at you too.

brian in actionYou can find a map and other details about Takashimaya Kyoto here: 高島屋京都店

To learn more about Brian’s parabolic paintings visit his site here: Brian’s Eye
Or you can read this article I wrote about him here: The Artist Brian Williams

UPDATE 2/12/14:  I popped in to see Brian on the last day of his exhibition today and found Robert Yellin admiring the very same painting of Nishi-Hongan-ji’s gingko tree. “You can feel the sunlight!” he enthused. And here are we three, with the tree, infused with Brian’s light.