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May. 15, 2020 UPDATE
Aoi Matsuri Festival - 葵祭 -
Traveler Friendly
If you purchase the reserved seat (¥2,050), a brochure written both in English and Japanese would come along 8available onsite).
Information
Brochure written in Japanese and English is available if you purchase the reserved seat
Languages spoken
Japanese, English ( not always available)
PeriodMay 15th, every year
VenueKyoto Imperial Palace, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, Kamigamo Jinja Shrine
1079 11 --- 0 reviews
May. 15, 2020 UPDATE

Aoi Matsuri Festival

- 葵祭 -
Traveler Friendly
If you purchase the reserved seat (¥2,050), a brochure written both in English and Japanese would come along 8available onsite).
Information
Brochure written in Japanese and English is available if you purchase the reserved seat
Languages spoken
Japanese, English ( not always available)
1079 11 --- 0 reviews
PeriodMay 15th, every year
VenueKyoto Imperial Palace, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, Kamigamo Jinja Shrine
Story & Recommendation
One of Kyoto’s Three Great Festivals and a Procession that Stretches from the Imperial Palace to the Kamigamo Shrine
Known as one of Kyoto’s three great festivals, Aoi Matsuri consists of a humongous procession of over 500 people dressed in the traditional garb of Heian period (794-1185) court nobles.
Leaving from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the procession climbs north, all the way to the Kamigamo Shrine.
“Aoi” is the Japanese name for hollyhocks, a species of flowering plant, which you’ll see used prominently throughout the procession.
The festival is of great significance to both the Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines as it’s closely related to the deified imperial family.

The procession departs the Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 a.m. and slowly proceeds to the Kamigamo Shrine via the Shimogamo Shrine.

▼See here for our Writer's Blog:
http://sharing-kyoto.com/Blog/b_Aoi_Matsuri_Festival/
1Highlight
The Saio-dai
The Saio-dai
The Saio-dai is the heroine of the Aoi Matsuri Festival, and ever since being added to the procession in 1956, has been played by an unmarried female citizen of Kyoto. The Saio-dai is the modern day version, and replacement, of the Saio–imperial Heian period princesses who were chosen by the Imperial Family to become shrine maidens and serve the Kamigamo Shrine.
2Highlight
Imperial Bullock Carriage
Imperial Bullock Carriage
Joining the hundreds dressed in faithfully recreated Heian period clothes on their 8 km walk from the Imperial Palace, past the Shimogamo Shrine and finally to the Kamigamo shrine is a great big bull pulling a carriage. In the olden days, basically any form of transport that didn’t consist of using your own two legs was reserved for Japan’s top brass. So while even imperial envoys had no choice but to walk, court nobles would ride in comfort in bullock carriages like this one decorated in beautiful wisteria flowers.
3Let's join!
Enjoy the Beautiful Nyonin-retsu
Enjoy the Beautiful Nyonin-retsu
Literally translating to “procession of women,” the Nyonin-retsu consists of women donning incredible looking traditional court dresses and makeup. The women are accompanied by men holding umbrellas for them called “Furyugasa.” If you look at the top of each furyugasa, you’ll notice that they are decorated with different flowers.
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