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May. 01, 2020 UPDATE
Fujinomori Matsuri - 藤森祭 -
Traveler Friendly
This is a popular ritual and every year many tourists go to the shrine to see it. The staff can only speak Japanese but you should be able to enjoy this ritual just by looking.
Information
Only Japanese.
Languages spoken
Only Japanese.
PeriodMay 1 to 5.
VenueFujinomori Shrine
711 9 --- 0 reviews
May. 01, 2020 UPDATE

Fujinomori Matsuri

- 藤森祭 -
Traveler Friendly
This is a popular ritual and every year many tourists go to the shrine to see it. The staff can only speak Japanese but you should be able to enjoy this ritual just by looking.
Information
Only Japanese.
Languages spoken
Only Japanese.
711 9 --- 0 reviews
PeriodMay 1 to 5.
VenueFujinomori Shrine
Story & Recommendation
The Fujinomori Shrine’s Fujinomori Matsuri festival is a chance to see skilled Japanese riders show off their draw dropping trick riding
Every May 1 through 5, the Fujinomori Shrine in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward holds their famous Fujinomori Matsuri festival.
During the festival, food stalls fill the shrine grounds, portable shrines are paraded through the shrine, there are Japanese taiko drum performances, and there’s even a samurai parade!
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the Fujinomori Matsuri is a big deal to Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward.
However, out of all the festival’s many, well, festivities, the “Kakeuma Shinji” horse-riding ceremony held on May 5 where representatives of the shrine put their incredible skills on horseback on display can’t be missed!
At the Japanese imperial court, there were five sacred “sekku” annual rituals. The ritual held of May 5 was to pray for boys to grow up big and strong. This ritual was called either “Shobu no sekku” or “Tango no sekku.” As the word “shobu” is pronounced the same as the Japanese word for “contest” (evidently also “shobu”), this ritual came to feature trick riding as a form of prayer for the safe return of and victory on the battlefield for samurai.
This jaw-dropping ritual is one that you soon won’t forget, so if you’re in Kyoto on May 5, make sure you take the short trip down to the Fushimi Ward and check it out.

*Fujinomori Shrine is sometimes mistakenly called Fujimori Shrine, and the festival is also sometimes called Fujimori Matsuri, but Fujinomori Matsuri is the correct name.
1Highlight
Trick Riding Where Rider and Horse Become One
Trick Riding Where Rider and Horse Become One
This ceremony of riders displaying their incredible skills on horseback can be traced back 1,200 years. As it is such a historically rich ceremony, it has also been designated an intangible cultural asset of Kyoto. The ritual is not only about trick riding, it’s also a display of skills which were genuinely useful for samurai on the battlefield.
2Highlight
The “Shinkosai” Procession – Samurai Armor, Helmets and Portable Shrines
The “Shinkosai” Procession – Samurai Armor, Helmets and Portable Shrines
On May 5, a procession called the “Shinkosai” is held. During the procession, portable shrines are carried around the areas where members of the shrine live to pray for the health and prosperity of the members. These portable shrines are widely considered the most beautiful in Kyoto and are great works of art. Prince Sawara is enshrined at the Fujinomori Shrine and it’s said that he once prayed for victory there before going to war, which is why he features at the head of the samurai procession and marching band.
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