Kyoto Festivals & Events

Japan, the `land of rising sun' is a famous tourist destination of the world. Japan is one of the most developed and progressive nations of the world today.

The Japanese economy has emerged as one of the strongest world economies. The nation has a rich heritage of culture and tradition. Colorful festivals and events form an integral and important part of Japan. Kyoto, being one of the premier cities of Japan, has its own unique festivals and events. Read on with to know more about the festivals and events in Kyoto. These festivals and events of Kyoto have caught the fascination of millions across the world.

Kyoto's festivals and events are celebrated all along the year. All the twelve months are full with events and festivals. Let's take a quick look about the different monthly festivals of Kyoto.

The year starts with two festivals in January. They are:

Toh-shiya (Archery Contest): This is held at the Sanjusangen-do Temple at Higashiyama-ku city of Kyoto. It's usually held on a Sunday that is close to the 15th of January.

Kenmari Hajime (Ball Kicking): The ancient festival of Kemari Hajime is held annually at the Shimogamo-Jinja Shrine. The ritual is more like a hacky-sack game.

The month of April has two prime festivals:

Cherry Viewing Tea Ceremony: This major annual event is held at the shrine of Heian Jingu in Kyoto. This popular celebration signifies the blooming of the beautiful cherry trees.

Kyoto Spring Geiko Dances: Experience the elegance of Kyoto with the wonderful songs and dance performances of Kitano Odori, Kyo Odori, Miyako Odori and Kamogawa Odori.

May brings with it the following festivals:

Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival): Held at the Kamigamo Shrine, the colorful procession of Aoi matsuri takes you back down the history lane and let's you a glimpse of the court life of imperial dynasties. The festival derives its name from the Hollyhock flowers, which adorns the entire festivity.

Mifune Matsuri: This festival is an enactment of the imperial boating performed during the Heian period. Held at Arashiyama, the festival involves a procession of boats, decorated in a gorgeous manner, sailing down the Oi River and colorfully costumed dancers, musicians and courtiers present atop the boats.

And there are festivals and events in the other months as well.


Takigi Noh (Bonfire Noh Performance): With the famous architecture of the Heian shrine stands as the backdrop, you would enjoy watching the Takigi Noh, which includes four plays, a kyogen and the torch-lighting ceremony.


Gion Matsuri: This is one of the three most important festivals of Japan. Besides different games, stalls and street fairs, the procession of Yamahoko Junko on the 17th July is really worth the experience.


Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (Daimonji Bonfire): During this spectacular Buddhist ceremony, flaming Chinese characters light up the night sky of Kyoto, marking the conclusion of Obon (the festival of the dead).

Besides there are festivals like Kurama no Hi-Matsuri (Kurama Fire Festival), Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)and Grand Antique Fair in October, and Okera- Mairi, Kabuki Performances and New Year's Eve celebrations in the month of December in Kyoto.
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