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BEST PLACE TO STAY=Share Kyoto+Make Friends+Enjoy your Time


When you have decided to travel somewhere on this planet,You may firstly think that how to get there… by airplane? car? bus?
Next, you may think “Where is the Best place to stay?”
For sure, it’s true that there are differences in terms of priority for each when people make plans,
BUT, I suggest that staying at awesome places definitely enrich your journey!

So, Today, I would like to share the info of one of the best places to stay in Kyoto,

Before I start talking about Len, I would love to summarize what you will be able to have at Len…
✓get the useful information
✓have a wonderful morning breakfast
✓make friends from all over the world, including people from Japan
✓share your experience
✓have a cafe, drinking bar and dinning at the same place
✓have live concerts (if you’re lucky!)
+Len is really close to KYOTO KAWARAMACHI downtown area as 5 min walk far away from




“HOSTEL”                             .
At the upside of their cafe space, they do have HOSTEL.
They do offer both dorm and private room type, so I hope it suits for you!
-Dormitory for 8 people  ¥2,600~
-Dormitory for 6 people  ¥2,800~
-Dormitory for 6 people only for ladies  ¥3,000~
-4 types of Private room  ¥3,400~

“CAFE and DINNING BAR”                       .
@1st floor

Cafe, with a good coffee: 8:00am-10:00pm
They use extra roasted coffee made with 3 kinds of beans including specialty coffee distributed at only 5% in Japan. This is a good way to wake you up and for the starting of the day !
Bar, where come and go: 5:00pm-00:00am(11:00pm L.O)
They serve Japanese craft beer on tap along with a variety of bottled beers and cocktails. Enjoy drinking and chatting according to your style!
Dining, place to meet and eat: 5:00pm-10:00pm
They offer standard snacks and original ones. Good food+Good Drink+Good mates enrich your time in Kyoto!

(Left: Carmel Macchiato ¥500/ Right: Pistachio ice cream Afo guard ¥500)

In addition to these, they sometime open their space for concert which would be announced on HP.

The good things about staying at Len is that you will be able to share and get many information about Kyoto!
Many people from all over the world have stayed Len, and moreover, local people love to have a coffee break at Len, which means that if you are in the cafe space on the 1st floor and spend some tim there, it will become the treasure spot of info for you!
(The welcome atmosphere of Len makes this happened! )

Why don’t you go?
Here is more info about Len KYOTO KAWARAMACHI.


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Must See

  • food
  • sightseeing




The oldest elevator in Japan ? Have you ever heard about it ?

“Most things”  on earth always tend to be valued to be something great, at some places where they become famous.
For example, do you know the biggest mountain in Japan?
Yes, its the Mont Fuji ! and now  both Japanese and foreigners want to climb to the peak of Mt.Fuji these days.
So, today,  I  would like to show you the OLDEST ELEVATOR in Japan which is in KYOTO !

The oldest elevator is in TOHKA SAIKAN(東華菜館), a Chinese restaurant located in Kyoto KAWARAMACHI downtown area, 5 minutes walk by both KAWARAMACHI station for HANKYU Line and GION SIJO station for KEIHAN Line.
 =Brief History of TOH KA SAIKAN= 
The building, TOKASAIKAN, was built by William Merrell Vories, an american architect in 1926. It looks totally western so it is not regarded much as a “Kyoto style”  (= as the typical Japanese style)building. At first, when this building was built, mainly western dishes was served in the restaurant. However,  because of the war, the restaurant was forced to change their style of dishes, so they started to serve Chinese food.

HOW DO YOU LOOK LIKE, Mister elevator ? ↓

This is a picture from outside the oldest elevator! How do you think ?
Looks old but nothing so special…….. ?
SO let’s see from the inside!


2 doors for 2 sides(I mean one door for each side), it even used to have a special lift operator inside.
When you go into the box(elevator), the driver closes the sliding door from the outside and then close the one inside (as you can see from the pic above↑) . The sound of the doors closing is very special, it sounds like “GACHAGACHAGACHA—–”
You’ve been gradually getting into the nostalgic world, don’t you?

The lift operator controls the elevator with this wheel↓
If you turn it left, the lift goes down; and if you turn it right, the lift goes up!
It must obviously be controlled by skilled operators !
(★Be careful★We are not allowed to control it, even touching the wheel is forbidden !)

What’s this↓? A clock ?? (they do have just until 5 tho)
スクリーンショット 2015-12-24 18.35.52

This shows where we are(So now we just left the first floor and we are going to the Second floor). You might wonder why the distance between the fourth and fifth floor is longer than the distance between the second and the third floor. The answer is that it depends on the height of the ceilings.

How about TOH KA SAIKAN restaurant?
They offer lunch from about 700 yen,  not so richer could also possibly enjoy the nice view of Kyoto with Kamo river in front of TOH KA SAIKAN!
(They do have TAKE-OUT menu as well★)

Brief information of restaurant TOH KA SAIKAN
Location: Shijo Ohashi Nishi dume, Shimogyo ward, Kyoto city, KYOTO
Hours: 11:30am-9:30pm (L.O.9:00pm)

Please be careful that if you want to try and get into this kind of ancient world elevator, you have to eat something at TOH KA SAIEN restaurant! The restaurant is not too expensive, so I recommend you to visit the place just at least to feel this unknown antique world!

Moreover, On the Second floor you have antique furnitures made during the beginning of twentieth century. You shall walk around and have a look while you are waiting at the restaurant or even after you are finished with your meal !
At the end, they also offer YUKA, you can eat lunch/dinner at the terrace seats while enjoying Kamo river during the summer time!

#Small supplementation #
You might wonder where is the oldest elevator in the whole WORLD while you’re reading this blog, don’t you ?? :)
We also don’t know ! sorry ! If you find other ones or some article talking about the oldest elevator in the world, please do share with us!

This moment totally takes you back hundred years ago!

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Must See

  • convenience stores
  • sweets
  • unique

Let’s grab Cheap Japanese Snacks, “DAGASHI” !

When you were in elementary school, what kind of snack did you bring for an excursion day ??




Apples? Bananas? Skittles? or Shortbread?

In Japan, many of elementary school children buy snacks that we call “DAGASHI” at supermarket for their excursion day, and the school teachers offer a small amount of money to get snacks like 5 dollars, so that they always try to get as many snacks as they could to enjoy their lunch time!

“DAGASHI” in Japan is extremely cheap, like about 10 to 50 JPY(US¢10-50), and in addition to this, it’s easy to get at supermarkets and convenience stores.We can say it’s possible to find them almost everywhere in Japan. (In the past, there were tons of DAGASHI stores that only sold DAGASHI. Unfortunately, many of them are already closed because of the recent decline in children population in Japan.


Well, think about why do I talk to you all about “DAGASHI” even if you are not a child anymore ? The answer is ……

“DAGASHI” can be a great companion with your trip in KYOTO! Besides, it’s also a good  souvenir for your friends!


◆TOP3 popular “DAGASHI”◆

1.  “UMAI-BO” -うまい棒-   ¥10.


This is “UMAI-BO”, it means “delicious stick”, and it is like a cylindrical corn snack.

They do offer over 100 different tastes, including seasonal and regional tastes, and even cheese taste and corn potage taste are extremely popular among young people. The illustration on the bottom of the package shows the taste so have fun with finding your favorite!


2. “Baby Star Crispy Noodle Snack” -ベビースターラーメン-  ¥34.

This is “Baby Star Crispy Noodle Snack” which are fried ramen with chicken bouillon flavor. This can be eaten not only as a snack, but also as a topping of salad,  you will then  be able to enjoy its mouthfeel!


3. “TIROL CHOCOLATE” -チロルチョコ- ¥21.


This is “TIROL CHOCOLATE” , it is a chocolate with special taste or toppings.

They offer over 20 different tastes and also they do have english words for the taste, so that makes it easy for you to find your favorite flavor even if you have trouble understanding Japanese! My personal favorite one is “Kinako-mochi” flavor which comes with soybean flour taste and Mochi (rice cake), so I highly recommend you guys to grab one for your tea time!

Well, do you feel somewhat like; wanna get and find more of your favorite “DAGASHI” ?

Here’s a great place for you guys to get into “DAGASHI World”!!



◆FUNA HASHI YA -船はし屋-◆

This is a store specializing in “DAGASHI” I’ve mentioned in early chapter, and you will be able to enjoy and find your favorite “DAGASHI” here !!!!

Address: 579 Nakano-Cho, Ayanokoji, Teramachi-Street, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, KYOTO

Hours: 1:30 pm- 6:00pm

Regular Holiday: Thursday

This store is closed to the downtown area of Kyoto Kawaramachi; like 5 minutes walk from HANKYU KAWARAMACHI station, so if you’re interested, then check it out and grab some snacks !


To conclude, I would like to let you know that although eating TOO MUCH “DAGASHI” is not bad for wallet(because it’s cheap), it’s not good for your health!

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  • Autumn
  • beautiful
  • feature_second
  • ForCouple
  • ForFamily


In autumn, many leaves turn red or yellow and they make a fantastic scenery.

Especially, Japanese maple leaves illuminated at night is beyond description!!

In Kyoto, many temples and shrines are lit up and start having special admissions during the season of autumn leaves. Besides travelers, even we, I mean localities of Kyoto love to take a walk and look around the beauty of autumn leaves!

In this time, I would love to show you how this lighting ups are. Select the one that suits you during your visit to Kyoto from October to December !

Here is a TOP3+1 Ranking I recommend you to go for autumn leaves season for light up!


1. Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Many of you thinking of visiting Kyoto might already be knowing this famous temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple!
On the view from this temple, besides the brightly lit autumn leaves, you will even be able to enjoy the night view of Kyoto city and the lit up Kyoto tower located in front of Kyoto station.


DATE: 11/14-12/06
HOURS: 6:00pm-9:00pm
TICKETS: Adults ¥400, Middle & Elementary School Students ¥200
※Weekends may be crowded, so I recommend you guys to go on weekdays if you’re free.


This temple during the daytime with the Japanese autumn leaves is also appealing spot, and less crowded than the light-up time.
If you can’t stay in Kyoto for the night, visiting there at noon is a good choice as well !


2. Kodaiji Temple

During lit up time at Kodaiji temple, you shall walk in and around this temple seeing not only autumn leaves, but also traditional Japanese garden, the bamboo pathway in collaboration with autumn leaves is like a modern art!
Moreover, from my point of view, the pond plays a vital role mirroring the scenic beauty  and is to me the best spot to take a snap! (you can see reverse picture reflected upon the surface of the pond)


DATE: 10/23-12/13
HOURS: After sunset-9:30pm
TICKET: Adults ¥600 Kids ¥250

In addition, around Kodaiji-temple, there are some souvenir and coffee shops where you feel “THE”Kyoto atmosphere, so take your time in freezing this moment in your memories!


3. Arashiyama Hana-toro, Togetsu-kyo


If you feel like visiting a lit up place you can enjoy unusual atmosphere or mysterious views, this is the best alternative to make!
Needless to say, the leaves in Arashiyama area will turn red and yellow and is a great place to enjoy the lit up view, you shall enjoy the mysterious accord of the Japanese maple leaves, bamboos, and the river all lit up.


DATE: 12/12/-12/21
HOURS: 5:00pm-8:30pm
TICKET: No ticket (you can walk around for free)


4. Eizan Train Area

OMG! Here is one more way to enjoy autumn leave with Riding the train!

eizan train
Ninose station and Kibune guchi station will be lit up too, and so it’s a good to stop by to take some time break! (or even take pics like this ↑)
And, at the end of autumn season, the leaves would fall withering away on the railroads, we call this the  “leaves carpet”!

DATE: 11/09/-11/29
HOURS: After sunset-9:00pm
TICKET: One way: ¥210

In addition to these beautiful temples, here is more information about lighting up of the Japanese Maple leaves in Kyoto♪



ADDRESS: Eikando-cho 48, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto
DATE: 11/06-12/03
HOURS: 5:30pm-8:30pm
TICKET: Adults:¥600 Kids:¥400


★Daigo-ji temple

ADDRESS: 22 Higashi-oji cho, Daigo, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto
HOURS: 6:00pm-8:50pm
TICKET: Adults:¥1000

One more caution point for you is that there is a time lag when leaves start turning their color, so coming to Kyoto at the mid- autumn season as the end of Nov, you will be able to enjoy both yellow leaves and red ones!

Why don’t you go to enjoy the somewhat different atmosphere of temples and shrines from the day light time?:)
But, be careful, don’t fall down because the time lighting-up starts the outside gets dark!

Have a great night walk in ROMANTIC AUTUMN LEAVES WORLD!


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Things To Do

  • Culture
  • Geisha

Let’s make your own special name seal in Kyoto!

Once you visit someplace on the earth for the first time,

Have you ever felt like taking back some signs or stuffs that holds your memory glued to that revered place of yours?

Stickers? Spoons? Snowballs? Magnets?

In Japan, Sanrio Co., Ltd. offers regional keychains from each prefecture. There are some people even girls who are into collecting these lovely keychains.

kitty key ring

Although this is even great to memorize the footsteps of your journey of a special place in Japan,

Here is exactly the perfect option I would like to recommend you as a special souvenir, only you if you’re planning to visit Kyoto!

The best part of Hanameshi is that it’ your original design and is handy to take back home as a souvenir and even present one to your friends and families.

HANA MEISHI (Flower taste business card)


This is HANA MEISHI(flower taste business card) Maiko-san is one who uses it on regular basis! Maiko-san sometimes gives this name card to the people who often visit their place during Tea ceremony or other such events, and Maiko-san do order their own original  design and color of their name card at the shop, so that there is no other name card same on this planet!



Short History of HANA MEISHI


Long time ago(during the Meiji period, 1868-1912), one of the KIMONO designers, SUIHO Matsumura gave his sketch on the Japanese paper we call Washi to Maiko-san in order to make their own business cards.

He had made one for each one unique to the individual’s  feel and looks ;which means to say that there existed no same name card.

Let’s make you  own special HANA MEISHI in Kyoto

Some shops in Kyoto, even if you’re not Maiko-san, you will be able to make your own name card with Kyoto taste.

Here is the shop information, so if you’re interested in, please check this out.


Shop name: Ikuokaya (幾岡屋)

Location: 577-2 Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto JAPAN 605-0074


The back of this HANA MEISHI is made with seal, so it’s good to decorate your smartphones, suitcase and laptops!



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Things To Do

  • Culture
  • Famous
  • market



Many Japanese people love to get GOOD LUCK CHARMS at shrines and temples, and we sometimes get it for our family members or some well-known friends  in order to pray something, such as road safety or having baby!

Each of GOOD LUCK CHARMS have own messages and different looks.

Before introducing sweet lovely good luck charms, I’d like to talk a little about the history of good luck charm in Japan briefly.

“Once upon a time, the teachers from shrines and temples thought that they had wanted to give the chances for everybody to hear spiritual awakening. However, in fact, it’s really hard for the people who had lived in far away from shrine/temple to come to pray. So they had given this good luck charms for them as a part of symbol of the god in order to pray at their house daily.”

= “good luck charm is a part of God.”

From now, I would love to introduce TOP3 my favorite ones with their meanings.


1.For your special desires, “Shimogamo Shrine”


At Shimogamo Shrine, they offer good luck charm for your own desire which means you will be able to pray whatever you want to grant!

Each of all have different color, design and feel, so find your favorite design although it must take too much time to decide!

★We also have an article about Shimogamo Shrine, so please check it out to get more information about Shimogamo Shrine!


2.Good Relationship Charm, “Nishiki Tenmangu”

錦天満宮 なかよりまもり700


From Nishiki Tenmangu, which is close to Nishiki Market, they have good luck charm on good relationship. This is good to get with your partner or siblings! (This is coming with 2 parts)


3.Luck with money, “Matsuo Taisha”


This is luck with money charm which is made with Chirimen craft from “Matsuo Taisha” which is kind of shrine close to Arashiyama area.

This area is famous for Japanese rose we call Yamabuki and it’s the model of this charm.

It is said that it’s good to have this charm with your wallet!!

These are really brief pick ups of Good Luck charms!

So let’s find your favorite ones and give it for your special person.

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  • Experience
  • ForCouple
  • ForFamily
  • KyotoView
  • Summer

Enjoy the cool summer ? Let's do “Hozugawa-river Boat Ride”!


Anyone who have Felt too Hot in Kyoto?



It’s been getting summer here in Kyoto these days, so during your stay in Kyoto, you may feel it’s too hot for you guys to walk around the downtown for long.

At such time, here is an awesome recommended plan for you to enjoy the cool summer in Kyoto which is “Hozugawa-river Boat Ride” !!!!!!!!!!

Let’s get into the cool summer while you are in Hozugawa-river Boat Ride!


The starting point: Kameoka area which is 30 mins far away from Kyoto station

The landing point: Arashiyama which is one of the most famous and popular places to have sight seeing in Kyoto !

This boat ride takes about 1.5 hour although it depends on the weather condition.

During the riding time,  the boatman will explain the history of Hozugawa-river with some jokes and you would feel like you are doing Rapid Rafting at some points!

Sometimes, water falls on a part of you, so that I recommend you to get the waterproof clothes.

Like to go ? How to get the Ticket?

boat ride ticketsYou can get the ticket at the starting point with 4,100 JPY for an adult and 2,700 JPY for a child (4-12 years old).

They also have a small restaurant and a souvenir shop at the starting point, so if you are hungry before the boarding time, you should grab some food !

Convenience store on the River ???

YES !!!

boat ride convenience store

They do have a convenience store (which is not the same as the one we have in downtown though) on the river and you will be able to get some snacks and drinks (they also offer SAKE)! You may have time to eat and enjoy those on the boat !They also offer Rafting tour in this area, so if you are interested in, please check it out on the Website of boat ride.

With these brief interesting points, you must be interested in Hozugawa-river Boat ride !!!!

Of course, you will be able to enjoy this Boat Ride throughout the 4 seasons.

BUT !! It must be the best to go during the summer, as you may know, to cool down !


At the end, I really recommend you guys to look around Arashiyama area which is the landing point after you enjoyed “Hozugawa-river Boat Ride”!

=Here is more information=

Official Website(in English):

Tel: 81-771-22-5846 (for International)

Open Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm everyday

Address: 2 Shimo-Nakajima Hozu-cho Kameoka, Kyoto 6210005, Japan

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  • ForCouple
  • ForFamily

3D Projection Mapping ✕ Water Tanks !


= Happy the 3rd  Anniversary for Kyoto Aquarium =

Kyoto Aquarium has raised up to the 3rd year, so they have been doing “3D Projection Mapping” from this March 21st on Saturday!

The theme is ….

“Aquarium Fantasy 〜Let’s imagine〜”

They offer 4 areas of 3D Projection Mapping at one time!


1. “Primitive”

〜The ancient times and the Past 〜

This area shows the identities which have not changed since the ancient times, especially “Giant Salamander” is highlight of this stage !! So check it out !

2. “Earth “

〜The places there is the living-life〜

You will be able to find the creatures that you cannot find at aquarium as the king of herrings which are usually in the depth of the sea throughout this 3D projection mapping ! Enjoy this mysterious stage !

3. “Cosmos”

〜The cosmos and the Future〜

In this area, the jellyfishes look like flying in the cosmos, and you will be able to feel like being in the cosmos.

4. “Dream”

〜A Penguin’s Dream〜

This stage is 【limited-version】

Only from March 23rd to the end of this April, 18:00 to 20:00 !

This area shows us the collaboration with the Penguin’s world and Kyoto.

Penguins sometimes are surprised at being with this 3D projection mapping and enjoy it, so check their expression and the motion ! It must be so cute !!

Throughout this 3D Projection Mapping, you will be able to not just watch but feel the real world where the living creatures!

Let’s check more photos at Kyoto Aquarium Facebook page and their special web page (down below) !


FB page (in Japanese ):

Web page (in Japanese): 


In addition to this 3D projection mapping show, they also offer you guys outside right-up show which shows the silhouette of animals which is usually in Kyoto village-vicinity mountain areas. This area is also limited version so that has opened until the end of this April, 18:00-20:00.

Here is the information of Kyoto Aquarium ….

Web site (in English):

And also Kodaiji Zen Temple offers 3D projection mapping from March 6th to May 6th so let check it out as well !



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  • Famous
  • ForCouple
  • ForFamily

Non-verbal Performance show “GEAR” in Kyoto!


“Non-verbal Performance in Kyoto, GEAR !!!!!”

what is GEAR…???


a New types of unique non-verbal performance show from Japan collaborated with animistic world which shows a part of Japanese culture.

The story is about the world consist of the toys and humanized robots, and it is produced with the high and the newest technologies as Project Mapping. In addition, you should pay attention to the collaboration of their high leveled performances, a series of mime, breakdancing, Juggling and magic perfomances.


This must stimulate your five senses and you will never forgot !!

Moreover, this is a “Non-verbal Performance” which means that even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can enjoy their show !!

One more point why I recommend you to get into their world is that, they propose a night show from 5pm or 7pm every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and sometime Wednesday! In Kyoto, many of you may know that temples and shrines close up their opening time around 5pm so that you will be able to enjoy GEAR after your field trip in Kyoto! Of course, they also have shows at noon like from 12 or 2pm as well.

Here is a brief information of GEAR ↓

・Ticket Price:  Adult: 3,700-4,200 JPY

(They offer student $ senior discount, more information is in a link down below)

・Location: ZIP 604-8082, 56 Benkeiishicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, 1928 build. 3F

・75 minutes, No parking lot, under 3 years old kids are not allowed to join

Here is a link of GEAR(Ticket is available in this site)(It’s in English)

GEAR Kyoto Official Facebook

Check these out and hope to Enjoy it !

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  • Famous
  • feature_second

“YABAI ! “, have you ever heard this word ?



YABAI, the most famous Japanese slang


If you have visited Japan, you must have heard a word “YABAI” at least once while you were traveling. It might be in chatting among young people or somebody talked to himself.

Originally, it just means dangerous but now it is used in both positive and negative meanings. Yabai is the most famous Japanese slang that can be used in almost all situations.

How can we use YABAI? If you learn how to use YABAI, it become much easier to make Japanese friends while you are traveling Japan. Let’s learn the usage of YABAI!




If a Japanese girl bumps into something pretty, she can’t express her feeling. The only word she can come up with is, “YABAI”.

In this case, she repeats it thousand of times, like “YABAI YABAI YABAI YABAI YABAI…”.

Instead of saying “It’s pretty.” She uses the word YABAI to express how she is attracted to pretty stuffs.




Another meaning of YABAI is “delicious.” Especially people often say “YABAI” after their first bite of eating. Once people start eating, they start talking about its precise taste but the first word is YABAI in many times.

This is because people are surprised to find that the plates are delicious more than they expected.


No time


When Japanese people are in a hurry, they say YABAI to themselves.

Japanese people are really strict about time so if they are about to be late for appointment, they say YABAI unconsciously. In this case, YABAI means “No time” or “Need to hurry”.

Don’t you think it’s similar to its original meaning “dangerous”?

People will face troubles unless they hurry so it’s YABAI.




If a American faces troublesome event, he feels as if The God he believes let him down and he says “Oh my God”. However, most of Japanese people don’t believe any god but instead they say YABAI in that situation. Japanese people are saying YBAI!

Stay with our Nippon Lesson !!!!


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