Dec. 27, 2017 UPDATE

Enjoy the winter of 2018 in Kyoto! Top 7 events for January and February

In this article, you can learn about the most recommended traditional events taking place in Kyoto in January and February 2018.

The sightseeing season of autumn has ended, and the New Year marks the start of the true winter in Kyoto. There are many historical events that take place in January and February, and there are not that many tourists in Kyoto during this time. So, I’m going to tell you about the seven events Sharing Kyoto would most like to recommend to you in January and December.

Events in January

1Kemari Hajime

In this event, you can see the ballgame Kemari which was the favorite pastime of court nobles in the Heian period, 1200 years ago. 

This event that takes place from 2 p.m. on 4 of January is free to watch, so if you’re interested in Japanese history this is the event for you. 

2Toka Ebisu Festival

Toka Ebisu Festival takes place at Ebisu Shrine which is located close to Kennin-ji Temple. The festival takes place from January 8 to 12. 

You can get a bamboo shoot that symbolizes wealth and health for your family at the festival. 


Toshiya is an archery event that takes place on a Sunday in the middle of January. IN 2018 it takes place at Sunday, 14 of January, at Sanjusangendo Temple. The event is free to watch. 

February events

1Setsubun Festival at Yoshida Shrine

On February 3, many Setsubun Festivals take place in Kyoto. The most famous of these is the Setsubun Festival that takes place at Yoshida Shrine. 

There are many food stalls too, so you can enjoy the traditional Japanese festival atmosphere. Besides Yoshida Shrine, there are also events at Yasaka Shrine, Senbon Shakado, Mibu-dera Temple, and many others, so if you are close to any of these, I hope you’ll go and take a look. 

2Kyoto Marathon 2018

This event is not a traditional event, but the Kyoto Marathon takes place on February 18. 

The marathon course takes you to seven World Heritage Sites, and over 14,000 runners take part in the marathon. On this day some of the roads in Kyoto are closed to cars, and the routes for Kyoto City Bus change too, so if you’re planning on going sightseeing by bus remember to check the changes to the routes beforehand. 

3Godai-Rikison Ninno-e Festival

Godai-Rikison Ninno-e Festival takes place every year on February 23. This festival is famous for its huge kagami-mochi rice cake, which you can try to lift up. This is all done to pray for a year without illnesses. 

4Baikasai and Nodate Ohchanoyu (Ume plum blossom festival)

Baikasai and Nodate Ohchanoyu takes place at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine every year on February 25. Late February in Kyoto is already close to spring. Before the cherry blossoms in April, you can enjoy the plum flowers in March. 

While you look at the beautiful plum flowers, the maiko and geisha of the close by geisha district Kamishichiken will prepare tea for you. 

Kenji[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ] STAFF DETAIL
There are many events besides these that happen in Kyoto in January and February. If you want to find out more about them, take a look at the “Events” page here at Sharing Kyoto!
Related keywords
All Things To Do All Kyoto Area

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