Tag Archives: festival

kelseydo Gion Matsuri

Last week I got a chance to visit Kyoto’s biggest and oldest festival, Gion Matsuri! It is a month long event but the most popular evenings are the nights of the 15th, 16th and the day of the 17th for the parade.

This is the only event where I felt like as a foreigner I was encouraged to wear the Yukata, the light-knit cotton/linen robe that is more casual than the Kimono. It was really fun to wear out on the town. I felt like I was wearing my bathrobe outside. My friend Chika told me that a long time ago the Yukata was only for use in the home for bathing so I was right to feel this way!

Beautiful Bow

Beautiful Bow

Getting dolled up

Getting dolled up

Yukata on!

Yukata on!

Luckily we had Yuko-san to help us get our Yukatas on properly and to tie the Obi into a perfect bow!

Alex wearing my 'drinking jacket'

Alex wearing my ‘drinking jacket’

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Alex, Haruna & I

Alex, Haruna & I

Daniel and Haruna

Daniel and Haruna

Waiting for the Randen

Waiting for the Randen

Escalator shot

Escalator shot

Faces on the subway

Faces on the subway

It was really busy once we got downtown! There were people everywhere. Apparently tens-of-thousands of people go each night. All the main streets were closed down and there were a lot of food stalls, souvenir shops and the parade floats were all lit up with music playing.

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Food stalls

Food stalls

Dessert!

Dessert!

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it's an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it’s an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

As usual, the food was one of the main events for us- we had to try everything!

Streetside bar

Streetside bar

A lot of people were enjoying their beer in the street, there were even little cocktail shops set up on the side of the street like this.

We were lucky enough to get up close and personal to a few of the parade floats.

Lanterns

Lanterns

More Lanterns

More Lanterns

Giant float including full size tree

Giant float including full size tree

photo 1

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren't allowed on this one

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren’t allowed on this one

photo 4We got to take a tour of this one while they were playing drums and singing inside of it but of course- no photos!

And then more food…we were on a mission for frozen bananas! It was a very hot and humid night.

Candy apple

Candy apple

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom's favorite!)

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom’s favorite!)

Lanterns everywhere!

Lanterns everywhere!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

Banana Kanpai!

Banana Kanpai!

Beth loves waffles...on a stick!

Beth loves waffles…on a stick!

This guy...

This guy…

The gang!

The gang!

All in all it was an amazing night! I wish I could have gone again but unfortunately it was right in the middle of all my final exams for school.

Gion Matsuri can’t be missed!

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kelseydo Otaru

Otaru is an adorable port city in Hokkaido. The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi) is held there every February and we were lucky to catch a glimpse of it. These pictures don’t really do it justice. A variety of groups get together to build thousands of themed snow candles on a few very long streets in Otaru. My favorite candlelights were the owls, but there were some pretty amazing castles as well. It was really cold but we managed to warm up at an ice bar with some mulled wine!

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kelseydo Sapporo Snow Festival

Reunited and it feels so good! Nick and I stayed in Sapporo for four glorious days with enough time to see the sights, enjoy the snow festival and even go on a bit of a bender! Sapporo is the most happening town north of Tokyo, especially during the Snow Festival (雪祭り) when thousands gather to gawk at ice sculptures bigger than an apartment complex ( get this: apartments are called mansions in Japan…lost in translation much?) , eat amazing seafood, drink hot wine and generally freeze their asses off.

Our hotel room in Sapporo was a bit of a smoker stenched 80’s closet so we went out as much as possible and took advantage of the sedative properties of red wine to fall asleep in that hole. Nick was a bit jet lagged and my sleep schedule was all out of whack from maintaining a cycle of waking up at 3:00pm, eating ramen, drinking until 5am, rinse, repeat. Needless to say we were in a bit of a funk but we managed to pull it together and have a grand ol’ time.

The Sapporo Beer Museum

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Took us about a half hour to get here but we made it!

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These old barrels have been out front of the brewery since it started in 1876…wood is good, right?

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Nick and I posing in front of a giant beer kettle. Say BEE-RU!

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A wee sampling! The Classic was my favourite.

The Sapporo Snow Festival
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Nick in front of the Sapporo TV Tower at Odori Park

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Welcome to my ice castle.

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A very J-Pop performance in front of an illuminated ice sculpture

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かわいい! Cute!

The Eats

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Nick having sashimi for breakfast at a stall in the fish market

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The famous ジンギスカン Ghengis Khan (marinated lamb), street meat style at the festival

 

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スンドブ Soon Tofu, a korean spicy soup with tofu from a food stall at the festival

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Giant LIVE King Crab at the fish market! We ate one just after, much smaller though.

One Night in Sapporo

 

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The city lights

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At 500 bar, all cocktails ¥500. Gin Gimlet, yes please.

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St. John’s Wood, an international/irish bar wasn’t really doing it for me other than the name.

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A nightcap at Blues Alley never hurt anybody…

The nightlife in Sapporo is great, we weren’t into clubbing but there are a few I heard might be good like alife or Booty that might be worth checking out. There are A LOT of hostess bars, a disproportionate amount really, and sometimes they are hard to tell apart from the regular ole in the wall bar. Nick decided we could find a bar just by walking around and taking our pick but that had us ended up at a a small bar on the second floor of what looked like a house, where all the patrons were men dressed in school girl uniforms. Awkward. Needless to say the bartender took one look at Nick and said “No.”We were on our way and looking for something a little more couple and casual drink friendly. Might have been an interesting/completely fucked up night if we had followed Nick’s bar finding method but we stuck to the regular watering holes and had a blast!

Nick and I are travelling through Hokkaido and Northern Honshu until the end of February! Check out our trip on the daily with Instagram.

Click here for: Kelsey’s Instagram and here for: Nick’s Instagram

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