March

The cold starts to lose its grip on Kyoto and spring begins to creep in come March, bringing with it a host of holidays and celebrations.

As the chill begins to fade, the people of Kyoto start looking for reasons to be outside once more, and the festivals and natural offerings that happen in March provide the perfect excuse.  Whether it’s strolling through fanciful night illuminations around the city, taking a rest beneath colorful blossoms, or enjoying the outdoor matsuri, March will leave you satisfied and ready with some more spring in your step.

The Emperor and Empress during the Nagashibina at Shimogamo shrine.
March 3rd, 2018

Nagashibina

The Nagashibina festival is held on Girl’s Day each year at Shimogamo Shrine. For this celebration, a man and a woman dressed in old court style regalia, much like hina ningyō dolls themselves, take paper dolls in specially woven reed baskets and place them into the sacred stream flowing through the Shimogamo grounds.

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Empress and Emperor of the 2015 Hiina Matsuri at Ichihime Shrine.
March 3rd, 2018

Hiina Matsuri

Ichihime Shrine is host to one of the largest Girls' Day festivals in Kyoto, and if you attend you can watch the assembly of a "living doll set", participate in tea ceremony, and join in games girls centuries ago would have played.

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Crowds arrive for Hanatouro at Higashiyama.
March 8th - 17th, 2019

Higashiyama Hanatouro

In early to mid-March, the entire Higashiyama area in eastern Kyoto gears up for the fun-filled night illumination event known as the Higashiyama Hanatouro.

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Shōren-in Shiden Garden Illumination
March 9th - 18th, 2018

Shōren-in Light-up

Several times a year (during the Higashiyama Hanatouro event, sakura season, and in late autumn), Shōren-in temple in Higashiyama hosts a special night opening and illumination that features a garden full of blue lights that resembles a starry sky.

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Kitano Kyokusui no En Pair Poetry
March 10th, 2018

Kyokusui no En

Visit the new Funade no Niwa garden at Kitano Tenmangū to see a poetry banquet the likes of which was enjoyed by cultured nobility a thousand years past.

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The dragon paraded down from the temple precincts at Seiryu-e.
March 14th - 15th, 2018

Seiryū-e

The Seiryū-e (Blue Dragon Festival) was created to honor Seiryū, one of four divine god-beasts said to guard Kyoto’s borders against encroaching misfortune and disaster.

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Kitano Odori Kamishichiken 2017 Geiko Maiko
March 25th - April 7th, 2018

Kitano Odori

One of the five annual public performances put on by each of the geisha districts in Kyoto, the Kitano Odori is a chance to see the elegant dances and charming songs of Kamishichiken's geiko and maiko.

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Hanezu Odori Zuishin-in Dance
March 25th, 2018

Hanezu Odori

Serving as a celebration of the coming spring season and performed in honor of the famous poet and beauty Ono no Komachi, Zuishin-in temple's Hanezu Odori is held each year on the fourth Sunday of March.

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Brown-eared Bulbul in the plums at Zuishin-in temple.
February 1st - March 20th, 2018

Plum Blossoms

Though Japan may be famous for its cherry blossoms, those knowledgeable about their greenery are aware that there are actually many more flowering trees and plants popular for seasonal viewing nationwide – including plum.

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