May

May brings with it hosts of colorful flowers, warm weather, the Aoi Matsuri, and many other outdoor festivities to enjoy.

They say April showers bring May flowers, and that is definitely true in Kyoto, where blossoms in all the colors of the rainbow begin to pop up in gardens and on the roadside.  The warm weather brings out the best in the city, which turns out for flower viewings, riverside leisure activities, and exciting festivals.  One of Kyoto’s most famous matsuri, the Hollyhock Festival, dominates the first half of May with a scintillating variety of events and rituals to take in.

Spring Geiko and Maiko Dances
March 25th - May 24th, 2018

Spring Dances by Geiko & Maiko

The geiko and maiko districts of Kyoto perform large-scale dances for the public once a year, with four of them held in the spring season.

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Japanese archery on display at the Mounted Archery Ritual at Shimogamo Shrine.
May 3rd, 2018

Yabusame Shinji

The Yabusame Shinji, or Mounted Archery Ritual, is conducted to pray for the safety of the Aoi Matsuri procession and to purify the parade route.

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The tazunakuguri performed at the Trick Riding Ritual at Fujinomori Shrine.
May 5th, 2018

Kakeuma Shinji

Fujinomori Shrine is host to the Fujinomori Festival (also known as the Fukakusa Festival) in May, which includes the kakeuma shinji, an acrobatic trick riding event.

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Kamo Horse Race Seconds
May 5th, 2018

Kamo Kurabeuma

The horserace that occurs at Kamigamo Shrine on the 5th is just one of many precursors to the grand Aoi Matsuri held on the 15th… Though it is one of the more exciting!

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An ox cart makes its way during Aoi Matsuri at the Kamo Shrines.
May 15th, 2018

Aoi Matsuri

Considered one of the three most important festivals in Kyoto, the Aoi Matsuri is a grand procession, ritual, and historic reproduction held by the important Kamo Shrines (Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine) on May 15th.

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A priest purifies participants during Mifune Matsuri at Kurumazaki Jinja.
May 20th, 2018

Mifune Matsuri

In an iconic festival well-known for the portion that takes place on the water, the participants board a small fleet of boats in order to recreate an elegant Heian period pastime, wherein nobles enjoyed various refined entertainments while leisurely boating about a pond.

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Wisteria Flower Season Toba Layer
May 1st - 15th, 2018

Wisteria

As spring brings out the colors in Kyoto, gorgeous wisteria flowers blossom from wild mountain trees and carefully cultivated garden trellises. Hanging in whimsical bunches of purples, whites, and pinks, these wisteria flowers add a fantastical flavor to the old capital.

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Iris Flower Season Kaju-ji Purple
May 1st - 31st, 2018

Iris

Adding bursts of color to the Kyoto garden landscape in spring and summer are a variety of Japanese iris that bloom in and around water. Check which gardens, shrines, and temples are home to these lovely seasonal flowers.

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