Aoi Matsuri 葵祭
Between horses and hollyhocks
A sight to see... as a procession of about five hundred richly dressed locals marches on May 15 through Kyoto's main streets!
During the Aoi matsuri, a procession of about five hundred richly dressed locals marches on May 15 through the main streets of Kyoto.
Roses against bad luck
The story goes that at the time of Emperor Kimmei (509-571), the twenty-ninth of the line, the harvests have been dismal, the peasants, believing themselves to be under the influence of an evil spell, decorated with leaves of roses and purifies their ox carts to ward off this bad fate certainly due to some evil spirits. This tradition continues to this day and the Aoi Festival, one of the three most important in Kyoto with the Jidai Matsuri and the Gion Matsuri, is the one ending a succession of various matsuri (festival) taking place in Kyoto during April and May.
The costumes, the cattle, and the temples are decorated with hollyhocks. This festival plunges into the heart of ancient Japan, with the procession leaving Kyoto Imperial Palace around 10:30 a.m., stopping at Shimogamo-jinja shrine, finally arriving at Kamigamo-jinja shrine around 3:30 pm. Dances and shows on horseback take place in this sanctuary after the arrival of the parade. Take part in the journey in their company and let yourself be inspired by the spirit of the archipelago knowing how to blend ancient customs and cutting-edge technologies!
Extract in pictures of the 2017 edition
Address, timetable & access
Timetablefrom Kyoto Imperial Palace, Imadegawa station on the Karasuma metro line or bus to Karasuma-Imadegawa stop, then Shimogamo-jinja shrine, 8 minutes walk from Demachiyanagide station, Keihan line or municipal bus lines no. No. 4 or No. 205 Shimogamo-jinja-mae stop, then finally Kamigamo-jinja, take city bus number 4 to Kamigamojinja Mae or Kamigamo misonobashi stop.
AccessMay 15, from 10:30 a.m. to around 5 p.m.