Welcome to Kyoto. Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan, a university town, a gastronomic city, and one of the most religious cities in the world. Kyoto has developed a unique culture over its nearly 1,300-year history, and the influence of religion is particularly evident.
In particular, Kyoto is home to seven head quarters of Zen, and it is no exaggeration to say that it is the center of Zen in Japan. Zen has been supported by the ruling class since ancient times and has had a profound influence on Kyoto's culture, including its gardens, architecture, festivals, customs, and cuisine.
What is special about Kyoto culture? What is fascinating about it? I will talk about Kyoto's spirituality from a religious perspective to enrich your stay in Kyoto.
CV:Born in 1978 in Kyoto, Mr. Matsuyama obtained his Master's degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences from the University of Tokyo. After three and half years of training at Heirin-ji Temple, Niiza, he became the deputy priest of Taizoin Temple in 2007. Matsuyama is acclaimed for organizing intercultural activities such as Zen experience tours for foreign visitors and talks at embassies in Japan and at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. In May 2009, he was elected as a Japan Tourism Agency's Ambassador for its “Visit Japan” Campaign. He has been a member of Kyoto's Ambassadors for Tourism since 2011, and was listed as one of “The Top 100 People of the New Generation 2016” in Nikkei Business. And he was appointed as a fellow of US-Japan Leadership Program from 2016. In 2018, he was invited to Israel as the delegate of Young Leaders Program. And he also became a visiting lecturer at Stanford Univ. He received The Award of Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and Shigemitsu Award from Japan society in Boston in 2019. He is serving as an appointed member of the Kyoto City Board of Education and an Outside Director of V-cube, a tech startup, since 2021.
As a young representative of the Zen Sect in Japan, Matsuyama has interacted with many religious leaders, such as having an audience with the Roman Catholic Pope and conversing with the 14th Dalai Lama. He also participated in the Davos World Economic Forum in 2014, and continues to work actively beyond national and religious borders. He is the author of the book, Forget What's Important First: 30 Zen Teachings for the Wavering Soul (Sekai Bunka Publishing, 2014) Strolling around Zen Gardens in Kyoto (PHP Publishing, 2016) Introduction of ZEN for workers (Kodansya Publishing, 2016).