Kyoto Annual Event Schedule
Kyoto Annual Event Schedule
This is a list of the major annual events in Kyoto, by month.
1st: Hatsu Mode, at Fushimi Inari Shrine.
10th (second Monday in January): Toshiya, Sanjusangendo Temple grounds. A massive display of traditional archery shortly after Japan's Adult Day. Thus, the newly minted adults will arrive in kimono and hakama.
21st: Hatsu Kobo, Toji Temple flea market (held every month on the 21st).
25th: Hatsu Tenjin, Kitano Tenmangu flea market (held every month on the 25th).
3rd, Setsubun Sai (Bean-Throwing Festival), Rozanji Temple. From about 2 pm.
3rd, Setsubun Sai (Bean-Throwing Festival) a large bonfire, on the grounds of Yoshida Shrine. From 6 pm until late the next morning. The actual fire is lit at 11 pm. Many gather and throw old clothes or items no longer needed on to the fire.
25th: Baikaisai, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Tea party hosted by Kamishichiken maiko and geiko among the newly blossomed plum trees.
3rd: Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), Ichihime Shrine. Time: 1pm–4pm. Admission:¥1,000 (tea, a sweet, and lucky charm included). Access: JR Kyoto Station bus to Kawaramachi Shomen/Keihan Railway Gojo Station, 5 minutes walk. Tel: 075 367 2775. Also, at Hokyoji Temple.
15th - 17th: Seiryue Dragon Dance, Kiyomizu Temple.
1st - 30th: Kyo Odori, in Gion's Miygawacho Kaburenjo. Watch the maiko and geisha dance. 075 221 2025.
21st - 29th: Mibudera Dainenbutsu Kyogen, Mibu Temple.
26th: Shinkosai, Matsuo Taisha. A thousand year old festival dedicated to the god of sake-brewing.
1st - 24th: Kamogawa Odori, Pontocho Kaburenjo. Geisha and maiko dance performance.
15th: Aoi Matsuri, Kamigamo Shrine & Shimogamo Shrine. The Hollyhock Festival consists of a formal parade with 500 people in full Heian Period court dress. It is thought to be the world's oldest festival, dating from the mid 6th century.
Third Sunday: Mifune Boat Festival, Arashiyama. Thirty boats carrying participants in period court dress travel upstream on the Oi River. At the head of the procession are three boats carrying players performing noh dramas, gagaku musicians, and shrine maidens. Poets, dressed in ceremonial robes, compose and recite waka poems.
1st: Takigi Noh Performance, Heian Shrine. Noh performances illuminated by blazing torches at Heian Shrine.
15th: Aoba Matsuri, Chishakuin Temple. Celebration of the birth of Kukai, in 774 AD. He founded the Shingon sect of Buddhism.
16th: Yoiyama, a street fair downtown from 6 pm. We vastly prefer this to Gion Festival. You can see the floats up close along side streets, drink a beer, and check out the crowd many of whom are in bright yukata robes. Magic. Very, very crowded along Shijo Dori. A better area is near Sanjo Karasuma.
17th: Gion Festival, Yasaka Shrine and downtown. One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals (the other two are Jidai Matsuri and Aoi Matsuri.)
31st: Mount Atago Hike. Every year on the 31st of July, hikers climb up to the top of Kyoto's second highest mountain - at night. The purpose of the event is to pray for fire - the flame that heats the home and serves as fuel - and to pray that fire does not devour one's home. A beautiful if strenuous evening. The hike begins in Kiyotaki.
16th: Daimonji, from 8 pm. The traditional bonfire is lit to guide the souls of the dead back on their return journey to heaven. Great from the Kamo River.
8th: Karasuzumo, Kamigamo Shrine. Shinto priests caw like crows ("karasu") as they perform rituals. Then boys "fight" in sumo matches.
22nd: Jidai Matsuri, Imperial Palace and Heian Shrine. Roughly 1,700 marchers dressed as figures from Japanese history walk in a five-hour long parade. It begins at the Imperial Palace at noon and, proceeds west along Marutachi dori, then south on Karasuma to Oike dori. The marchers go through Gion and Sanjo dori.
22nd: Kurama Fire Festival, Kurama. The "Hi" (fire) festival is held in the small village of Kurama, tucked in the mountains north of the city. Revelers carry torches and light bonfires throughout the night. Very, very crowded. Go early from Demachiyanagi on the Eiden Line.
1st - 10th: Gion Odori, Gion Kaikan. Maiko and geisha dance and perform.
31st: Okera Maeri, Yasaka Shrine. A magical, crowded new year's eve.