Originally held as a ritual to pray for rainfall, the Mizu Matsuri (Water Festival) at Kifune Shrine serves to show gratitude to the gods responsible for the gift of water.
Beginning from 10 am, a tea ceremony is performed and offered to the deities of the shrine. People taking part in ceremonies involving food offered to the gods take extra care not to touch it directly, and the person brewing the tea wears a mask to prevent their breath from touching the sacred offering.
After the tea has been completed, old style bugaku (traditional Japanese court dance) and music is performed by a dancer in a mask and orange robes. The selected dance varies by year, but is usually a classic with strong ties to mainland Asia.
The highlight of the event is a shikibōchō, a cooking ritual demonstration performed by a chef from the prestigious Ikama School, said to span back 29 generations to cooks for the Imperial family. After the cooking table is purified by a priest and the fish is placed upon it, the chef dressed in traditional clothes proceeds to slice and prepare the fish without ever touching it with his hands, again, for the purposes of keeping the offering pure for the gods.
All ceremonies at this festival take place within the Hongū (Main Sanctuary). Tea ceremony is also available after the ceremony for ¥3000, and reservations can be made on the day. The ceremony is scheduled to coincide with Tanabata, and there is a large bamboo set-up outside the main hall for people to place their wishes on, which is then illuminated at night.
Things to See/Do
Mizu Matsuri: 10:00~
Tanabata Ritual: 13:00~
* If July 7th falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the Mizu Matsuri will take place instead on the next Monday (July 8th, 2019), and the Tanabata Ritual will take place on July 7th at 11:00.
- General Admission: Free
- Office Hours: 09:00 – 16:30 (subject to seasonal change)
- Closed: No closing days
- By Eizan Train Line ⇒ Ride towards Kurama ⇒ Kibuneguchi Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
- By Keihan Train Line ⇒ Demachiyanagi Station ⇒ Eizan Train Line towards Kurama ⇒ Kibuneguchi Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
- By Karasuma Subway Line ⇒ Kokusaikaikan Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 52 ⇒ Kibuneguchi Bus Stop ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 33 from Kibuneguchi Train Station ⇒ Kibune Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking