Kyoto City, the former capital of Japan with over a millennium of history, is the place to discover the origins of many cultural Japanese practices. Traditional arts co-exist with modern lifestyle and thrive. Kyoto-City has certified guides expert in a range of disciplines who are waiting to share their insights into Japan’s cultural capital with visitors.
Kyoto City Tourism Association is pleased to introduce one such guide, Mrs Kikuko Akimune, a licensed Ikebana teacher, interpreter and certified Kyoto-City guide, specialising in Japanese culture and history.
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Kikuko, originally from Nara, has been a Kyoto resident for over 20 years. She belongs to the Koshu-ryu school of ikebana which dates back 120 years with roots tied to Zen Buddhism.
In Kyoto many disciplines are maintained and followed generation-to-generation. In Kikuko’s case, her mother was a teacher of Japanese tea ceremony, flower arrangement and calligraphy, so she started learning from an early age and later took certification in these areas.
Her grandmother taught her about Shinto and Buddhism, taking her to many temples and shrines growing up. Those rich experiences developed her interest in Japan’s spirituality, history, culture and tradition which she now shares with the visitors she guides through Kyoto.
These days much of the world recognises four annual seasons, but in Kyoto’s traditional calendar the year was divided into 24 distinctly named micro seasons.
When asked about this and how the changing of the seasons influences her ikebana practice, Kikuko says: “Living here in Kyoto means you feel the seasonality every day. My mother used to tell me there’s no need to buy special flowers for ikebana. All we need is to be attuned to what’s happening in our immediate environment and its subtly changing seasons. Some today may call this ‘mindfulness’! We can find flowers, grasses or branches in the fields around us and use our skills to create harmonious displays.”
Kikuko invites visitors to Kyoto to learn the beauty of simplicity through ikebana, an art form that can heal as it can energise. In addition to running classes for guests at a Kyoto luxury hotel, Kikuko conducts private online classes ideal for individuals, small groups, even corporate team building.
Learn More about Kyoto at kyoto.travel/en/
Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau will be exhibiting at AIME in Melbourne 22 & 23 March 2022.
Image: Kikuko Akimune giving an online ikebana class