Our Story

Kyoto Kaisho Foundation is dedicated to using the power of 19th century photographic techniques to connect to Japan’s rich cultural past. We document little known parts of Japanese culture that have historical value.  Our projects focus on areas of Japan that offer powerful opportunities for cultural revival. These projects include promoting the samurai culture of Fukushima, reviving a major pilgrimage center in Fukuoka, promoting the Zen heritage of the Echizen region, and the mythological heritage of Izumo. 


Educational activities include workshops with students and adults to promote civic pride and opportunities for cultural exchange outside the community. Most of the support for Kyoto Kaisho’s educational programs come from government grants.  But for the actual photo documentation and media outreach, we are dependent on private supporters to make these projects possible. 


Our Community

Kyoto Kaisho brings together like minded people from different strata of society to make tradition relevant to contemporary life. Kaisho means "a place to meet." It is an old word that originated in the late Heian period, and had great importance in the Middle Ages. The major traditional arts of Japan were born out of Kaisho gatherings at the Silver Pavilion in Kyoto during the Muromachi period.

Kyoto Kaisho aims to be a modern version of the Kaisho, focusing on vital elements of culture that are being lost or forgotten. The foundation works to bring people together to revitalize these traditions for future generations. Kyoto Kaisho dose this not only through documentary projects, but by educating local leaders.

Cultural assets are important for the economic sustainability of Japan's future. This is true for tourism and to inspire the creation of new products and business. Japan is now the most attractive travel destination in the world. This is because of the uniqueness of Japanese history and culture. Of course there is a noticeable international audience for subculture and anime, but the overwhelming appeal of Japan is it's cultural traditions nurtured over the centuries. 

In this era, business and government tend to prioritize internationalization over Japan's rich cultural resources. It is my hope that Kyoto Kaisho will play a significant role to revitalize Japanese culture in ways that can touch, inspire, and nurture a new generation of culturally aware people, before many aspects of our culture may be forgotten.

               Tadahiro Konoe,

32nd generation patriarch of the Konoe royal family


The modernity of the meeting place

I was extremely pleased to hear about the revival of the concept of Kaisho. It was originally a gathering place of minds and hearts that went beyond self interest to promote cultural and spiritual values in society. It is a noble and powerful endeavor. I have great expectations for Kyoto Kaisho to foster and develop Japanese culture for future generations.

                                              Takeshi Ito, 

Former Professor of Tokyo University 


Your Support

Your contribution to the Kyoto Kaisho Foundation will help to ensure that the communities we document, and the traditions they dedicate their lives to, will continue for future generations.

Please contact us for details on our programs and the benefits we offer.

Interested in supporting Kyoto Kaisho?