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"Japanese Culture" According to Kyoto

In 2023 the Government of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs was relocated to Kyoto from Tokyo. This event seems to enhance Kyoto's public image as the cultural capital of Japan.

But how would the version of Japanese culture represented by Kyoto be different from the one by Tokyo— a metropolis by and large built new from scratch after the WWII?

Hokora, a mini-shrine

If you ask me, the most prominent differences would be the spiritual dimensions. To me, this seems evident in the thousands of Hokora mini-shrines that still stand on nearly every corner of Kyoto's city center neighborhoods. The residents take turns to clean their Hokora regularly by their hands and share maintenance responsibilities. Those mini-shrines seem to be a visible example of the spiritual dimensions of Kyoto culture, integrated into people's everyday life.

Many spiritual practice traditions of various cultures in the world know the human wellness benefits of worshiping deities—something utterly transcends us. With thousands of those mini-shrines, Kyoto seems to keep its people be grounded in the spiritual dimensions of life.

In my view, Kyoto's spiritual-consciousness is also visible in its architectural history in which architecture of Wabi aesthetics has been developed from the 16th century.

At YA, we like to think that this spiritually-conscious culture would provide a great environment for the inquiry of good architecture for humans.

Cathedral Hallway House by YA

Kings Road House by R.M. Schindler


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