Yearend temple cleanups open to the public

Yearend cleaning of Buddhist temples and statues will take place in various locations in Kyoto and Nara toward the end of this month.

In Kyoto, Nishi Honganji Temple will be spruced up starting at 7 a.m., while Higashi Honganji Temple will be cleaned starting at 9 a.m., both on Dec. 20. The cleanup at Chion-in Temple will be on Dec. 25, starting at 1 p.m.

The cleaning in Yakushiji Temple in Nara will be on Dec. 29, starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free for the three temples in Kyoto. Yakushiji charges ¥500 for adults, ¥400 for junior high and high school students, and ¥200 for elementary school students.

Higashi Honganji is a seven-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Nishi Honganji can be accessed by taking city bus No. 9 from Kyoto Station. Chion-in is a 10-minute walk from Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line. Yakushiji is close to Nishinokyo Station on the Kintetsu Kashihara Line.

For more information, go to kanko.city.kyoto.lg.jp/eventlist.php?event_tab=tradition&year=2012&month=12 about the Kyoto temples, and www.nara-yakushiji.com/contents/nenmatunensi/index.html for Yakushiji (both in Japanese).

In-depth lessons on tea ceremony in Kyoto

Foreign and Japanese residents are invited to join a program to learn the tea ceremony over 12 sessions from January to March in the Kyoto International Community House.

Ten foreigners and five Japanese will study the ceremony’s history and practice basic manners from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 8, 22, 29, Feb. 5, 15, 22, 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26 and 29. The fee is ¥6,000 for non-Japanese and ¥20,000 for Japanese.

Participants need to register by visiting the house, which is a six-minute walk from Keage Station on the Tozai subway line. For more information, call (075) 752-3511.

Giant Christmas tree, German treats in Osaka

One of the world’s largest Christmas trees is on display until Dec. 25 at the German Christmas market in Osaka.

A train and a traditional German merry-go-round circle the 27-meter-high tree, which is illuminated with 100,000 lamps. There is also seasonal German food and drinks.

The market opens at noon and closes at 9 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.

The venue, Shin Umeda City, is a nine-minute walk from Osaka and Umeda stations. For more information, go to www.skybldg.co.jp/event/xmarkt/2012/index.html (in Japanese).

Nagoya fire festival features public participation

A religious fire festival, which is believed to cleanse the current year’s stains, will take place Sunday at Akibasan Entsuji Temple in Nagoya. Everyone is welcome to walk barefoot on special wooden sticks set on fire for the festival, which starts at around 7 p.m. Participation is free.

The temple is near Jingumae Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line and Temmacho Station on the Meijo subway line. For more information, call (052) 671-6987.

YWCA offers classes for non-Japanese students

The Nagoya YWCA is hosting classes Dec. 26 and 28 for junior high school students whose mother tongue is not Japanese.

Teachers and volunteers will provide instruction on Japanese grammar, conversation and kanji, in addition to other subjects, including English, mathematics, social studies and science during classes that run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participation is ¥1,000 for the two days. Registration must be made via an application form that can be downloaded at www17.ocn.ne.jp/~nywcajl/gariHP/gariben201212.pdf. The application can be sent in by post, fax or email.

The venue is a two-minute walk from Sakae Station on the Higashiyama and Meijo subway lines. For more information, go to www17.ocn.ne.jp/~nywcajl/gariHP/garibennoheya.html or call (052) 961-7707.