|Mika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|
Here’s the entrance of Kyoto Imperial Palace. It was about 9AM but there were so many visitors already!
There are many vendors inside of Kyoto Imperial Palace. They sell long-established sweets and goods.
Can you see how crowded it was?! (But believe me, it was worth visiting!) There were about 80,000 people gathered to see this traditional parade on that day.
So finally we have arrived at our seat!
If you purchase the parade seating tickets, English and Japanese brochure would come along.
Before the festival, there were many visitors holding parasol due to the hot weather.
So the parade has started! There are men who wear clothes from Heian Era riding on the horses. These colorful eye-catching clothes are beautiful.
These people who wear Heian Era clothes are supposed to have the government roles. Please check out the nicely trimmed horses, too! They also wear the noble accessories and walk with assistant next to them.
This is a carriage known as “Gosho-Guruma” (Oxcart). Since the Heian Era, this was used for the transportation of Emperors and courtiers of high rank. The roof and sides are colorfully decorated with wisterias, irises and plums (referred to the official brochure). It was fun as you hardly see an ox in our daily life.
Colorful big umbrellas decorated with artificial flowers are carried by men. (It looks heavy…)
Finally, Saio-dai has arrived! The role of Saio-dai, the heroin of Aoi Matsuri, has been played by an unmarried woman selected from citizens since 1956. The Saio-dai is based on Saio, a Heian Period imperial princess who served and attached to both the Kamigamo and Shimogamo Jinja Shrines. Her Kimono is called “Juni-hitoe” and it weighs about 12 kilograms.
Aoi Matsuri Festival is over with this oxcart.
It was my second time to join this festival! It was great that we could have the parade seat so that we could enjoy one of the main three festivals closely. I suggest that you bring parasols or towels to hide from sunlight (Please close the parasol when the festival was started). This time, we have visited Kyoto Imperial Palace but the parade goes to Kamigamo Shine via Shimogamo Shrine, so please also visit there!