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Kyoto, Japan: A Tour Through the Seasons with Dr. Gavin Campbell

Kyoto, Japan: A Tour Through the Seasons with Dr. Gavin Campbell


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

For centuries, life in Kyoto, Japan has revolved around the four seasons. We’ll explore how the city’s cuisine, festivals, and daily rituals have evolved to mark the passage of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In each season, we’ll discover traditions of everyday life – from gift-giving customs to cuisine and kimono designs – that still shape the rhythms of Kyoto people.

In spring, we’ll take in the famed cherry blossoms, geisha dances, and cuisine that welcome the season. As summer comes, we’ll visit the great Gion Festival, now more than 1,000 years old, to explore how Kyoto people prepare for the city’s heat and humidity. In autumn, we’ll explore famous temple gardens and prepare to welcome the ancestors for the annual Obon festival. In winter, we will visit homes for New Year’s celebrations and examine the rituals and food associated with new beginnings.

Led by an expert on Kyoto culture and history, Professor Gavin Campbell, this Conversation will take us through the city’s seasonal rituals. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation for how Kyoto people celebrate the unique beauties of each season.

Eager to explore Kyoto with Context in person? Explore our Private Tours of Japan here. 

Gavin received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and came to Kyoto in 2001. He is a Ph.D. professor of history at Doshisha University. His teaching and research revolve around Japan's cultural encounters with the West, particularly during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods (1600-1940), and he has published on the history of foreign tourism and of Protestant missionaries in Japan. To further explore Japan's global cultural encounters, he is currently writing a book on the history of Japanese menswear from the 1600s through the early 20th century. He is also an expert on Kyoto geisha culture and a frequent participant in geisha entertainment.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 18 reviews
89%
(16)
6%
(1)
6%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
Mary S. (Vancouver, CA)

A fascinating lecture accompanied by beautiful photographs. Highly recommended!

s
steve fluett (Wheaton, US)
More insight

The presentation informed me of many facets of the JP culture. It did not change my idea of what a Japanese person is, but it surely added consideration not previously in mind.

k
kathy d (Petaluma, US)
Kyoto through the seasons

Dr. Campbell is one of the best lecturers with Context. This lecture as well as his other lectures (esp. Secrets of Kyoto Geisha) are filled with expertise with respect to culture, tradition and nature.

M
Marguerite (Stamford, US)
Fascinating Framework to Understand All things Japan

Prof Campbell is so gifted at providing tools for insight into the Japanese approach to life and Japanese culture. He does so by introducing the Ancient Japanese micro seasonal calendar (24, then 72! delineations of how the seasons progress in nature), and then illustrating how this sensibility is enacted through the media of striking photographs and fascinating videos. Every aspect of the Japanese experience is a deliberate choice. Elements of each season are celebrated in Japanese life through the prism of all our human senses: what one tastes, the sounds and music one hears, what one sees around them in common every day objects, religious rites and artistic performances, the touch of fabrics and scents unique to foods and other rites . Humans engage with Nature's progression of the seasons through candies and foods very briefly and seasonally available in the markets and on the streets, the dishes foods are served in (for example, glass dishes to evoke water, that look cooler than dark dishes in summer) , customs , festivals, geisha dances, parades, even the prints that appear on kimonos so the viewer, not only the wearer can feel cooler or warmer and even soda cans. A terrific introduction and overview of how the Japanese culture and experience is all encompassing. I will never look at the pattern on a Japanese bowl the same way again. Professor Campbell is a master communicator and wonderful teacher.

S
Susan Milliron (Corte Madera, US)

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 18 reviews
89%
(16)
6%
(1)
6%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
Mary S. (Vancouver, CA)

A fascinating lecture accompanied by beautiful photographs. Highly recommended!

s
steve fluett (Wheaton, US)
More insight

The presentation informed me of many facets of the JP culture. It did not change my idea of what a Japanese person is, but it surely added consideration not previously in mind.

k
kathy d (Petaluma, US)
Kyoto through the seasons

Dr. Campbell is one of the best lecturers with Context. This lecture as well as his other lectures (esp. Secrets of Kyoto Geisha) are filled with expertise with respect to culture, tradition and nature.

M
Marguerite (Stamford, US)
Fascinating Framework to Understand All things Japan

Prof Campbell is so gifted at providing tools for insight into the Japanese approach to life and Japanese culture. He does so by introducing the Ancient Japanese micro seasonal calendar (24, then 72! delineations of how the seasons progress in nature), and then illustrating how this sensibility is enacted through the media of striking photographs and fascinating videos. Every aspect of the Japanese experience is a deliberate choice. Elements of each season are celebrated in Japanese life through the prism of all our human senses: what one tastes, the sounds and music one hears, what one sees around them in common every day objects, religious rites and artistic performances, the touch of fabrics and scents unique to foods and other rites . Humans engage with Nature's progression of the seasons through candies and foods very briefly and seasonally available in the markets and on the streets, the dishes foods are served in (for example, glass dishes to evoke water, that look cooler than dark dishes in summer) , customs , festivals, geisha dances, parades, even the prints that appear on kimonos so the viewer, not only the wearer can feel cooler or warmer and even soda cans. A terrific introduction and overview of how the Japanese culture and experience is all encompassing. I will never look at the pattern on a Japanese bowl the same way again. Professor Campbell is a master communicator and wonderful teacher.

S
Susan Milliron (Corte Madera, US)

Guest did not leave comment