Kyoto Information

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Hatsumode at Shrines across Kyoto
New Year's Period

Hatsumode; the new year's first visit to shrines (and temples) to pray for comfort and health in the new year. Between December 31 (before midnight) and January 3 will be the most crowded period but you'll experience a nice festive atmosphere and Japanese customs.

Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
January 4, 2020 from 13:30 -

'Kemari' is a soccer-like game, which had gained great popularity in Heian era among the aristocracy. This ancient game is played annually at Shimogamo Jinja Shrine. Their brightly colored court costumes and the voice they hang when kicking the ball will lead you to the time of elegant imperial period.

"Toshiya" Hall Archery at Sanjusangen-do Temple
January 12, 2020 from 9:00 to 15:30

This New Year event is called "Sanjusangen-do Toshiya", originally started in the 16th century, and it is a Japanese archery competition shooting arrows through a 60-meter corridor at the temple.

"Hatsu Kobo" at Toji
January 21, 2020 from 8:00 - 16:00

"Hatsu Kobo", whichi means the first market of the year, will be held at Toji.
Many open stalls line up inside the temple, selling commodities, antiques, and more!

"Ume/Plum Blossom Viewing" at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto Imperial Palace
Best Time: From end Feb. to mid Mar.

Although the best season for Ume/Plum Blossoms is usually from the beginning of March, it starts the mid of February in some places.

◆Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Best of the best in Kyoto. About 1,500 plums are planted and some early plum blossoms give a beautiful sight in the mid of February.Bai-en (Plum park) - Fee 1,000JPY (w/Tea cake)

◆Kyoto Imperial Palace
Best of the best in Kyoto. About 250 plums are planted near "Hamaguri Gomon" (Hamaguri Gate) and have a beautiful view from the mid. of February.

Heian Jingu Shrine "Setsubun" Festival
February 3

14:00- "Dain-no-gi" (Special ritual carried out in a same way as performed in Feian era, about 1,200 years ago)

15:00- "Fuku Mamemaki" (Fuku mame, roasted soybeans, are thrown to drive away evil spirits and invite luck in)

Kyoto Marathon 2020
February 16

This annual event started in 2012, and this year will be its 9th.
Enjoy watching the runners from all over Japan with beautiful historic sites behind.

Please use the public transport as it'll be 'NO CAR DAY' for the event.
Official Website

Hinamatsuri at Ichihime Shrine
March 3

Enjoy Japanese traditional dance performance, ancient Jyuni-hitoe Kimono, Hina teas, and more!


Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro * In order to prevent further spread of the new Coronavirus Infections, this event have been cancelled.
From March 6 to 15

Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro is a spring illumination festival held in the ancient streets of Kyoto. The designated streets lit by beautiful lanterns lead to the foothills of the Higashiyama Mountain.

Visit official website for more information.

Hozugawa River Boat Ride Opening in 2020
From March 10

Thrilling boat ride for about 16km from Kameoka to Arashiyama along with Hozugawa valley taing about 2 hours.

Fee:4,100JPY(adult) 2,700JPY(children) For more information

Early "Sakura" Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

Hirano Shrine is famous for early Sakura, called "Hirano sakura", with about 400 trees of 50 kinds.

Visit official website for more information (Japanese site).

"Sakura" Night Illumination at Nijo Castle
From March 20 to April 12 / from 18:00 to 21:00

Enjoy a beautiful night illumination of 220 cherry blossms at Nijo Castle.

Please check the castle sakura information in here.

Fee: 1030JPY to enter.

Kyoto Geiko/Maiko Spring Dance Performance 1
The 68th Kitano Odori
From March 20 to April 4

Dance performance by Kamishichiken Kabukai.
Fee: 5,500JPY/5,000JPY
Venue: Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater
Access : Take City Bus No.10, 50, 203 and get off at "Kamishitiken"

Kyoto Geiko/Maiko Spring Dance Performance 2
Miyako Odori in Shunjuza
From April 1 to 27

Dance performance by Gion Kobu Kabukai.
Fee: 5,500JPY/4,000JPY
Venue: Minamiza Theatre
URL: Miyako Odori Official Site

Kyoto Geiko/Maiko Spring Dance Performance 3
The 71th Kyo Odori
From April 1 to 16

Dance performance by Miyagawacho Kabukai.
Fee: 4,900JPY/4,200JPY/2,800JPY/2,200JPY
Access : From Kyoto Subway "Shijo" take City Bus No.207 and get off at "Shijo Keihan-mae"
Venue: Miyagawa-cho Kaburenjo Theater

Kyoto Geiko/Maiko Spring Dance Performance 4
The 183th Kamogawa Odori
From May 1 to 24

Dance performance by Ponto-cho Kabukai.
Fee 5,500JPY/4,900JPY/2,500JPY
Venue: Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater
Access : Take City Bus No.205 etc. and get off at "Kawaramachi Sanjohijo Keihan-mae"
URL: Pontocho Kamogawa Odori

Kurama Onsen "Kawa-Doko"
End of April to September

Kurama Onsen Hot Spring, which is located about an hour trip from downtown Kyoto, allows you to enjoy both hot spring and sesonal dishes at "Kawa-Doko".
Kurama Onsen Official Site

Kibune "Kawa-Doko"
May 1 to September 30

Kibune "Kawa-Doko" is also a group of terrace dinnig palces located along with Kibunegawa River. Kibune "Kawa-Doko", located in the mountain side of Kyoto, is slightly different from Kamogawa Yuka, with its more refreshing air in the mountains than the town.

"Noryo-Yuka" at Kamogawa River
May 1 to September 30

Kamogawa Noryo-Yuka is a group of terrace dinnig palces opend by 90 restaurants located at the west side of Kamogawa river (from Nijo to Gojo).
URL: Kyoto Kamogawa Nouryou-Yuka

Yabusame-Shinji at Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
May 3 From 13:00 to 15:30

Yabusame-Shinji (Horseback Achery) is a preceding ceremony of Aoi Matsuri Festival in which archers dressed with old hunting costume shoot arrows while they are racing by on horseback.

Aoi-Matsuri Festival
May 15

Aoi-Matsuri Festival, one the three fanous festivals in Kyoto, will be held on May 15.

Takigi Noh at Heian Jingu Shrine
June 1 and 2 From 6:30pm

This Noh and Kyogen performances were Started in 1950 and are one of the most famous evenvts in June in Kyoto. This Japanese classical performing arts will take you into a world of delicate beauty.
URL: Kyoto Takigi-noh

4,000JPY/in advance
5,000JPY/at door

Sanzenin Temple Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival)
Mid June to Mid July

This "Ajisai Matsuri" is a Hydrangea festival held at Sanzenin Temple. 700JPY admission fee needed.

Kyoto Antique Grand Fair at Pulse Plaza
June 26 to 28, From 10:00 to 17:00 (closes at 16:00 on the last day)

This fair is the biggest antique trade show in western Japan and approximately 350 booths are lined up.
URL: Kyoto Antique Grand Fair

End of June

This is a Shinto rite of purification and the event is held at the end of June at some shrines in Kyoto, such as Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kenkun Shrine, Kamigamo Shrine, few others.

Motomiya-sai Festival at Fushimi Inari Shrine
July 18, 19

Thousands of lantern lit take spectators into a world of delicate beauty.

Gion Matsuri
From July 1 - July 31

Known as one of the three biggest Matsuri (festival) in Japan, Gion Matsuri welcomes people from all over Japan and Kyoto gets into just summer festival mode for whole month in July.

Gion Matsuri - Yamaboko Junko
From July 17

Total of 32 "Yama"s and "Hoko"s are exibited during the Gion Matsuri and on July 17, they are pulled by about 40 people and parade through the downtown Kyoto.

Gion Matsuri - Yoiyama
From July 14-16

During Yoiyama Festival, Shijo street is opened to pedestrians and lots of open stalls line up along the small streets.

Arashiyama Toro Nagashi (Lantern Floating Ceremony)
August 16 From 19:00 to 21:00

This ceremony is a cultural event which held on the last day of the "Obon" period every year sending back the spirits of ancestors by putting them on lanterns floating on the water.

Gojo Toki Matsuri Festival
August 7 - 10 From 9:00 to 22:00

This pottery fair has become the biggest pottery market in Kyoto, with over 500 open stalls lining up alng the Gojo Street and selling wares.
URL: Gojozaka Pottery Festival Official Site

Kyoto "Okuribi" Obon Fire Festival
August 16 From 20:00

Large bonfires are lit on the five mountains surrounding Kyoto to send the spritis of ancestors back. One of a well-known summer events in Kyoto.

Kyo no Tanabata (Kyoto Tanabata Festival)
August 4 to 10

One of the popular city festivals in Kyoto. Beatiful night ilumination at Horikawa River venue and Kamogaowa River venue.
URL: Kyo no Tanabata Official Site

Kushi (Comb) Festival at Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine
September 28 from 1:00pm

Kushi (Comb) Festival will be held at Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine, exhibiting traditional Japanese womes's comb and Maiko will be on a parade.
Yasui Konpira-gu Shrin
Access : City Bus No.206 "Higashiyama Yasui"

Iwashimizu Matsuri Festival at Iwashimizu-Hachimangu Shrine
September 15

One of the three big imperial festivals in Japan. In the parade, Japanese Archery, Hoko, Shinpo (treasure of gods) and little boys and girls, gods, totally about 500 people can be seen.
Iwashimizu-Hachimangu Shrine
Access : Keihan Railway "Yawata" Station

Hassaku-Sai (Hassaku Festival) at Matsuo Taisha
September 6, from 10:00AM

Festival is held to pray for a good harvest and the people safety. Also a ceremonial sumo match can be seen.
Access : City Bus No.28 "Matsuo Taisha"

Kyoto Kamogawa Noryo-Yuka
Until September 30

Kamogawa "Noryo-Yuka" is a group of terrace dinnig palces opend by 90 restaurants located at the west side of Kamogawa river between Nijo and Gojo.
URL: Kyoto Kamogawa Nouryou-Yuka

Gion Onshu-kai
Oct. 3 to 8 From 16:00

Maiko dance and singing in traditional Inoue style will be performed at Kyoto Prefectural center for Arts&Culture.
URL: Gion Onshu-kai

Kurama Himatsuri Festival
Oct. 22

This fesitival is held October 22 every year and is a really unique fesitival with young people carriyng touches and parade to Yuki-jinja Shirine.

Kyoto Jidai-matsuri Festival
Oct. 26 From 12:00(the Imperial Palace) to 14:30(Heian Shrine)

Started in 1895, this festival is held in October 22nd every year with a 2-hour parade filled with 2,000 people dressed like Samurai warriors and others.

Best Season for Autumn Leaves in Kyoto
Nov 2020

November is the best season to enjoy the beautiful Autumn leaves in Kyoto.

Here are some list for a good view.
Arashiyama Togestukyo area

The 62th "Gion Odori" (Gion traditional Japanese dance)
Nov 1 to 10, 2019

* In order to prevent further spread of the new Coronavirus Infections, this event will be canceled.
The traditional Gion Japanese dance will be performed by Maiko and Geiko from Gion Higashi Kabukai at Gion Kaikan (right across from Yasaka-jinjya Shrine).
¥4,300 for the ticket
Venue: Gion Kaikan Theater

Nijo-jo Castle The 66th Public Tea Ceremony
Oct 27, Nov 1, & Nov 3

* In order to prevent further spread of the new Coronavirus Infections, this event will be canceled.
Tea ceremony program will change daily within the period into Urasenke, Omotesenke, and Yabunouchike style.
Fee: ¥2,600
Venue: Nijo-jo Castle

Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro
December 13 to 22, 2020

A Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro will be held this year too. Please visit official website for more information.

"Shimai Kobo" at Toji
December 21, 2020

"Shimai Kobo", whichi means the year end market, will be held at Toji.
Many open stalls line up inside the temple, selling commodities, antiques, and more!

December 31, 2020

Traditional Japanese New Year's Eve event. At midnight, the New Year is welcomed with 108 bell chimes, during the Joya no Kane ritual taking place at temples in Kyoto.