京都の寺町通り Teramachi Street in Kyoto

Recorded by Richard Chenhall

The following recording was made on Teramachi Street in Kyoto. Teramachi Street contains one of the main shopping arcades (shotengai) in Kyoto, and after the arcade can be found a street filled with temples (o-tera) from which the street gets its name. It is a popular tourist spot in Kyoto, where tourists (both international and domestic travellers) can buy "authentic" and "traditional" souvenirs from the nation's former capital.

Teramachi Street in Kyoto

In the recording, you can hear what appears to be Japanese folk music- this is recorded music which is being disseminated throughout the shopping arcade in a manner similar to muzak. The sound of the shakuhachi is particularly noticeable earlier in the recording. You can also hear the sounds of shoppers as they move through the street, including at the end of the recording where you can hear a young child who sounds like s/he is either excited to be there or perhaps complaining about his/her tiredness. In the middle of the recording, the folk music is drowned out by more modern, popular music as Richard walks past a pachinko parlour. This melding of traditional folk music and modern pop presents an interesting hybridity which lends Teramachi Street a sense of both tradition and modernity (this hybridity is often used as a way to sell Japan as a tourist destination overseas).

Recording credit: Richard Chenhall Photo credit: Wikimedia user Sanjo, used under Creative Commons license. Text: Thomas Baudinette

Explore Sonic Japan

More in Kyoto

More on streetscapes

Recent posts

Chinatown in Kobe

Wed Feb 07 2018 by Carolyn Stevens

Many scholars conducting doing important research regarding the diversification of Japanese society which has intensified in recent years for a variety of economic, social and cultural reasons. While these contemporary developments are important, we must also remember that ethnic diversity in Japan does have a significant history, and Chinatowns like...>>

Week Day Park

Wed Feb 07 2018 by Carolyn Stevens

Public space is notable for its sounds as well as its silences, and this shifts over temporal and seasonal changes. We would expect that this small park in the heart of Kyoto would sound differently at night than during the day, but the differences between week days and week ends...>>

Arashiyama Wedding

Mon Jul 24 2017 by Tamara Kohn

What a sight in the midst of the splendid bamboo forest walk at Arashiyama: A young couple posing for wedding photos in a stream of light on the wide path. The bride’s long white dress glowed with a brilliant light that appeared to emanate from the bodies of the...>>

More posts >>

Places

More >>

Themes

More >>