Festivals and Events of Kyoto
There are many festivals held in Kyoto throughout a year. Among them, Aoi-matsuri, Gion-matsuri and Jidai-matsuri are called Kyoto's big three.
Aoi-matsuri, Hollyhock festival, is held May 15 every year. This is the festival of Kamigamo-jinja and Shimogamo-jinja. Main event of the festival is a procession of people wearing in ancient costume.
Gion Matsuri, or Gion Festival is held from July 1 to July 31 every year. The big festival has more than 1,000 years of history. There are more than ten events held during the month of the festival.
This is the eve of Yamaboko-Junko, or procession of floats. Figures and decorations of Yamaboko floats are displayed for a closer look. The both sides of the streets are lined with stalls that sell foods, inexpensive goods or provides entertainment.
The most famous and popular event among events of Gion-matsuri is Yamaboko Junko where Yamaboko floats parade slowly in central Kyoto in the morning of July 17.
Another event, Shinko-sai, held in the evening of July 17, is wild and masculine. It is not so famous as Yamaboko Junko but it is worth to see it if you visit Kyoto to see Yamaboko Junko.
Jidai-matsuri, or Festival of the Ages dates back to 1895. The festival was started to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of transferring the capital to Kyoto. Around 2500 people wearing costume ranging from the 8th to the 19th century parade from the imperial palace to Heian-jingu shrine on October 22 every year.
This special event is held in March every year as a tourism campaign. "Hanatouro" or "Hanatoro" literally means "Flower and light road". Thousands of lanterns are placed along selected paths in Higashiyama from Sanjo to Gojo. They also exhibit flower arrangements in Maruyama-koen park. Temples and a shrine in this area light up their buildings and trees. In addition to Higashiyama Hanatoro, they started another tourism campaign, Arashiyama Hanatoro in December, 2005.