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Major Festivals in Kyoto

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Among a number of attractive events and festivals held in Kyoto, here are the famous ones you might want to catch.

*All information on this page is subject to change without notice.

Aoi Matsuri

It's an annual festival of Kamigamo Jinja Shrine and Shimogamo Jinja Shrine. As costumes of festival participants and shrine buildings are decorated with hollyhock leaves (aoi), this festival is generally known as Aoi Matsuri (hollyhock festival). The main attraction of this festival is a procession of hundreds of people in ancient Japanese court costumes.
Date: May 15
Location: Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace) / Shimogamo Shrine / Kamigamo Shrine

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

It's an annual festival of Yasaka Shrine. The highlight of this festival is Yamahoko-junko held on July 17. It's a procession of large Yamahoko floats which are decorated with traditional fabrics and so on.
Period: July 1 to 31
Location: Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama-ku and other locations in Kyoto-city

Jidai Matsuri

As this festival is called the Festival of the Ages, the festival procession represents different ages in Japanese history. The procession leaves for Heian Jingu Shrine from Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace).
Date: October 22
Location: Heian Jingu (Access: 10 minute walk from Kyoto Subway Higashiyama Station) / Kyoto Gosho (Access: 4 minute walk from Subway Imadegawa Station)

Gozan Okuribi

Kyoto Daimonji, or Gozan Okuribi, is a well-known summer event in Kyoto. Five large bonfires are lit on the slopes of five mountains which surround Kyoto-city. It's said that fires are lit to send ancestors' spirits back at the end of Obon. The bonfires depict kanji characters and certain designs.
Location: Slopes of five mountains surround Kyoto-city
Date: August 16

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