Jidai Matsuri, or in English, the Festival of the Ages is one of Kyoto’s big three festivals.
Initially started as a celebration for the founding of the Heian Jingu Shrine and to mark the anniversary of Japan’s capital moving to Heian-kyō (modern-day Kyoto), the Jidai Matsuri is held every year on October 22nd.
Departing from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Jidai Matsuri parade makes its way through the streets of Karasuma-dori, Oike-dori, and Kawaramachi-dori, before heading down Sanjo-dori toward the street of Jingu-michi. Finally, the parade will reach its goal at the Heian Jingu Shrine. Nearly 2,000 people participate in the parade and walk, ride horses and carry others over 2 km.
Below we have included information about the festival, parade highlights, and some fun things to do on the day.
The Jidai Matsuri – Festival of the Ages began in the Meiji period as a festival to mark the anniversary of the capital of Japan moving to Heian-kyō (modern-day Kyoto) in 1100. The manners and customs of the Kyoto people stretching from the Heian period to when the capital was moved to Tokyo can be seen gathered side by side at this festival.
On the day of the festival, a parade of people donning period-appropriate outfits makes its way from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Heian Jingu Shrine.
Disembark from the Kyoto Imperial Palace Kenrei-mon Gate (12:00) →Sakaimachi-Gomon Gate (12:15) → Karasuma Marutamachi (12:30) → Karasuma Oike (12:50) → Kawaramachi Oike (13:20) → Karawamachi Sanjo (13:30) → Sanjo-ohashi Bridge (13:40) → Sanjo Jingu-michi (14:10) → Heian Jingu Shrine (14:30)
① Historical Garments
The aspect of the Jidai Matsuri parade that should be most closely paid attention to is the historical garments. Down to the materials and dyes used, each garment has been made to be as authentic and close to those warn at the time as possible. The garments were made using iconic Kyoto techniques such as hand-painted yuzen dyeing and gold brocade and are all worth a close look.
② Japanese Historical FiguresWith historical figures such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Nobunaga Ieyasu on horseback, Sakamoto Ryoma on foot, and Murasaki Shikibu on a float, this festival is a history buff’s dream. The “ladies of the Edo period” who appear in the latter half of the parade are also very much worthy of a mention as well.
1. Kyoto City Hall Area (around 13:00)
→ This area is the intersection of the streets Oike-dori and Kawaramachi-dori.
2. In front of the Heian Jingu Shrine and around the Jingu-michi area (around 14:20)
→ The roads here are narrow and provide a close look at the parade.
9 AM: Breakfast at Smart CoffeeSmart Coffee is an old fashioned Japanese café (known as kissaten) and has multiple stores throughout Kyoto. Smart Coffee is loved by the locals, and there isn’t a person living in the city who hasn’t heard of them. With their in-house roasted original coffee and nostalgic American style pancakes, Smart Coffee cafes are frequented by not only Japanese locals, but many tourists from overseas as well.
|Address||537, Tenshojimaecho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-8081|
|Open Hours||8:00～19:00 (Last Orders at 18:30) ※2F Lunch Time：11:00 ～ 14:30 (Last Orders)|
11 AM: Wander through Teramachi Shopping ArcadeAt Kyoto’s most popular shopping arcade, Teramachi, you will find everything from old-fashioned stores that have held there spot in the arcade for generations to modern and trendy stores. After grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast, we suggest taking a wander through this storied shopping arcade.
Link to Teramachi Feature: https://sharing-kyoto.com/Feature/teramachi-shinkyogoku-shopping
12:30 PM: Head to the Jidai Matsuri parade (Kawaramachi Oike)As the Jidai Matsuri parade passes through the intersection of Kawaramachi Oike at around 13:20, we suggest heading over there at around 12:30 to secure a good spot for yourself.
|Address||Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8341|
|Event time||The procession leaves the Imperial Palace at 12 p.m. and arrives at the Heian Jingu Shrine at 2:30 p.m.|
3 PM: Watch the end of the parade and explore the Heian Jingu Shrine area.
Kyoto Modern TerraceKyoto Modern Terrace is a popular upmarket café restaurant serving delicious food and drinks. This restaurant also contains a bar so it’s excellent for those wanting to have a small drink with their lunch.
|Address||Rohm Theatre Kyoto, Park Plaza 2F, 13 Okazaki Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture|
|Open Hours||11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Last orders at 7:00)|
Antique blue ParrotAntique blue Parrot is an antique store selling everything from western and Japanese style furniture, to plates, bowls, and just general miscellaneous goods. Antique blue Parrot has a ton of things to look through, so take your time and see if you can’t find something to take home.
|Address||24-1, Shogoin Entomicho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8323|
|Open Hours||10am - 19pm|
LE SILLAGE FRAGRANCE SHOP KYOTOFragrance specialist LE SILLAGE is not just any ordinary peddler of perfumes. LE SILLAGE provides in-depth information and knowledge about each and every one of their wide range of select perfumes. They are a fantastic place for lovers of all things fragrances.
|Address||Eng: Japan, 〒605-0034 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Nakanocho, 205-2 WILL PARK神宮 1階 Jap: 京都府京都市東山区中之町205-2 WILL PARK神宮1F|
|Open Hours||11:00～19:00 *Regarding visits outside of opening hours, please inquire by phone.|
|Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|