July

A summer haze settles over Kyoto, lending itself to long, festive days and colorful nights with fireflies blinking lazily over the clear waters of the city.

Dominated by the Gion Festival, a month-long celebration composed of multiple events and rituals, July in Kyoto is full of stunning and exciting sights.  The heat can be overwhelming when the sun is at its height, but once night falls the city becomes livelier and people flock to view fireflies, enjoy the popular Gion Festival events, or head to the mountain areas for a breath of cool air.

Men carrying bamboo slats ahead of a float during the Yamaboko Junkō parade of the Gion Matsuri.
July 1st - 31st, 2019

Gion Matsuri

One of the most famous festivals in all of Japan, July in Kyoto is completely dominated by the Gion Festival.

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Kamishichiken Beer Garden Fun Atmosphere
July 1st - September 5th, 2018

Kamishichiken Beer Garden

A chance to enjoy a cold beer and delicious food in the company of some of Kyoto's esteemed geiko and maiko, Kamishichiken geisha district opens their theater as the Kamishichiken Beer Garden.

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Bamboo covered with strips of paper with wishes written on them line the path to  at Kōdai-ji temple.
July 7th - 8th, 2018

Kōdai-ji Tanabata Star Festival

Special bamboo branches decorated by young children are set up along the main path for visitors to enjoy, and the gardens are also illuminated.

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Chef preparing a fish in the shikibōchō ritual during the Mizu Matsuri at Kifune shrine.
July 8th, 2019

Mizu Matsuri

Originally held as a rain-calling ritual, the Mizu Matsuri (Water Festival) at Kifune Shrine now serves more as a way to show the gods gratitude for the water in our lives.

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Sake flows at Hasuzake wo Tanoshimu-kai at Mimuroto-ji.
July 13th, 2018

Hasuzake wo Tanoshimu-kai

Mimuroto-ji hosts the Hasuzake wo Tanoshimu-kai, or "Meeting to Enjoy Lotus Sake" in July. Tradition says that drinking from a lotus leaf stem is good for health and long life.

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Kodai-ji King Enma Projection Mapping
July 15th - August 31st, 2019

Illustrated Night Parade of One Hundred Demons

Kōdai-ji in Higashiyama is host to a projection mapping light-up in summer, allowing you not only to explore the grounds at night, but also to enjoy an interesting Japanese yōkai (spirit/demon) themed exhibition at their "Illustrated Night Parade of One Hundred Demons" event.

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Ladies wear yukata summer kimono at Mitarashi Festival
July 20th - 29th, 2018

Mitarashi-sai

Eighteen days before the official start of autumn, Shimogamo Shrine holds the Mitarashi Festival on their grounds, where people wade through water to the Mitarai-sha subsidiary shrine to pray for their health.

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Lanterns and a torii gate at night during the Motomiya-sai festival at Fushimi Inari shrine.
July 20th - 21st, 2019

Motomiya-sai

Throughout the two days of the festival various performances are held to entertain those who come to pray, including taiko drum concerts and dance exhibitions. A Motomiya-odori dance is also held in the evenings.

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The stage is set at Hiwatari Matsuri at Tanukidanisan Fudō-in.
July 28th, 2019

Hiwatari Matsuri

One of the rituals at Tanukidani-san Fudō-in associated both with Shugendō and Fudō Myō'ō worship is the Hiwatari Matsuri, or Fire Walking Festival.

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Sanbō-ji Horoku Plates
July 27th, 2019

Doyō no Ushi no Hi Prayer Meeting

The midsummer Day of the Ox, Doyō no Ushi no Hi, is a day when many Japanese people choose to eat eel, based on a tradition started in the Edo period. But at Sanbō-ji temple in northwestern Kyoto, it's also a day when a series of summer rituals is conducted to bring participants good health, prosperous business, and the ability to beat the Kyoto heat!

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Kifune Tanabata Bamboo Lights
July 1st - August 15th, 2019

Tanabata Bamboo Decoration Light-up

Visiting shrines at night provides a totally different atmosphere than visiting during the day, and you'll find Kifune Shrine otherworldly when illuminated with traditional Tanabata décor.

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