Hōtaikō Hanami Gyōretsu｜豊太閤花見行列
In 1598, the de-facto leader of Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi threw the largest tea party of all time in Kyoto at a temple called Daigo-ji. In order to hold this lavish event, the rags-to-riches lord not only paid to rebuild the damaged temple buildings and make them even grander than before, but also had 700 cherry trees of all different varieties brought in to be planted along the approach and grounds. It's said that the ascent to the temple took hours as the party kept stopping for entertainment, that the women changed outfits multiple times, and that a number of teahouses had to be set up around the property to cater to the 1,300 guests in attendance. Hideyoshi was known for his flare and flaunting his wealth, and this Daigo Hanami is still remembered to this day.
Each year a recreation of this famous procession and party called the Hōtaikō Hanami Gyōretsu is held from 13:00 to 15:00 at Daigo-ji in the middle of April. About 150 participants wear historical costumes and represent all manner of roles such as palanquin bearers, guards, palace women, and of course, the main characters themselves: Hideyoshi, his legal wife Nene, his concubine Yodo-gimi, and his young heir Hideyori.
The monks of Daigo-ji, dressed in full regalia and representing both Shingon tradition and more esoteric mountain asceticism, march along with the group from the sub-temple of Sanbō-in to the Kondō Hall, where a stage is set up. Once the procession reaches the stage and everyone arranges themselves, a variety of performances are presented, including bugaku court dance, local folk dance, and even things such as action plays by the actors of TOEI Eigamura.
If you're in Kyoto in April, be sure to take yourself to Daigo-ji in order to view the cherry blossoms and watch this procession walk on by for a glimpse into the past!
Things to See/Do
April 14th, 2019
Hōtaikō Hanami Gyōretsu Procession & Performances, 13:00 – 15:00
- General Admission: ¥800* (Lower Daigo Area, Sanbō-in Sub-Temple and Treasure Hall)
- * The ticket costs ¥1500 in spring (March 20th – May 15th) and fall (October 15th – December 10th)
- Junior High and High School Students: ¥600* (Lower Daigo Area, Sanbō-in Sub-Temple and Treasure Hall)
- * The ticket costs ¥1000 in spring (March 20th – May 15th) and fall (October 15th – December 10th)
- General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00 (March – first Sunday in December), 09:00 – 16:30 (December – February) (last entry is 1 hour prior to closing)
- Closed: No closing days
- Tōzai Line Subway ⇒ Daigo Station ⇒ 15 minutes walking OR Community Bus to Daigo-ji Temple
- Keihan Bus ⇒ Daigo-ji-mae Bus Stop