Seiryū-e青龍会

Summary

The dragon paraded down from the temple precincts at Seiryu-e.

A Yashajin blesses the Blue Dragon at the Seiryū-e at Kiyomizu-dera.

Undertaken for the first time in 2000, Kiyomizu-dera’s Seiryū-e is very new as far as festivals go… But that doesn’t make it any less interesting!  In fact, it has a certain new flair and fashionable charm that makes it stand out in the city of tradition. 

The 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.  Seiryū is in charge of the eastern border, and so Kiyomizu-dera, nestled at the base of the eastern Higashiyama mountain range, is considered its base of operations of sorts, since there is an old legend that tells of a dragon who would come to Kiyomizu-dera to drink from the sacred Otowa no Taki waterfall on its precincts. 

Considering Seiryū one of the incarnations of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion, the monks and members of the Monzen-kai shopping street group come together to form a dynamic procession that starts out from the temple and parades around the neighborhood before returning.  The famous costume designer Emi Wada (Ran, Hero, House of Flying Daggers) designed the large, sutra-covered dragon that claims the spotlight during this festival, and its creation was supported by Kyoto’s traditional craftspeople.

The blue dragon weaves through neighborhoods during the Seiryū-e at Kiyomizu-dera.

The dragon’s pole bearers, escorts, accompanying soldiers, priests, and other retinue members are also dressed in costumes with influence from both China and Japan, the classic and the modern.  As the group makes its way through the route from 2pm to 3:30pm, the Tenbōshū musicians sound their conch shells, Tengujisha priests cast holy water, warriors hold their weapons high, men representing sixteen divinities chant, and the pole bearers move the dragon to survey its territory and those it protects. 

Things to See/Do

  • Buddhist Service

  • Period Costume

  • Parade

Schedule

March 14th, March 15th, April 3rd, September 14th, September 15th:

Seiryū-e Procession, 14:00  15:30

Access

Kiyomizu-dera

Address

〒605-0862 京都府京都市東山区清水1丁目294

TEL 075-551-1234
FAX 075-551-1287
WEB http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/lang/01.html

Admission

  • General Admission: ¥400
  • Junior High School, Primary School: ¥200

Hours

  • General Admission: 06:00 – 18:00, depending on the season
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

  • From JR Kyoto Station City Bus Route 206 or 100 ⇒ Gojōzaka Bus Stop ⇒ 10 minutes walking
  • From JR Kyoto Station ⇒ Kyoto Bus Route 18 ⇒ Higashiyama Gojō Bus Stop ⇒ 10 minutes walking
  • By Keihan Line ⇒ Kiyomizu Gojō Station ⇒ 25 minutes walking
  • From Shijō Kawaramachi (Hankyū Line Kawaramachi Station or Keihan Line Gion Shijō Station) City Bus Route 207 bound for Tōfukuji/Kujō Shako or Keihan Bus Route 83, 85, 87, or 88 ⇒ Kiyomizu-michi Bus Stop ⇒ 10 minutes walking