Aoi Matsuri葵祭

Summary

An ox cart makes its way during Aoi Matsuri at the Kamo Shrines.

Considered one of the three most important festivals in Kyoto, the Aoi Matsuri takes place on the 15th of May each year. It is held by the important Kamo Shrines, Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine, and the origins of the festival can be traced all the way back to rites performed to appease the gods and pray for bountiful harvests in the 6th century. It was established as a more formal annual ritual in the 8th century Heian period when Kyoto became the capital and the Emperor recognized the importance of the Kamo shrines to the capital's prosperity. Because of the aoi (hollyhock) leaves pinned to the participants' hats, clothing, and carts, it earned the colloquial name of Hollyhock Festival over its original Kamo Festival title.

The Saiō-dai arrives at Aoi Matsuri at the Kamo Shrines.

Leading up to the Aoi Matsuri are many interesting and exciting pre-rituals and ceremonies, but the main event is the grand parade on the 15th. Starting from the site of the former Imperial Palace, hundreds of participants dressed in Heian period clothing form two processions (the first parade made up of men, the second of women) and make their way to the Kamo Shrines, performing rites and making offerings at each. The first procession is the Imperial Messenger's, accompanied by court nobles, soldiers, and offerings. The second, the Imperial Princess's, is made up of noble women, ladies in waiting, and priestesses. This is a stately and aristocratic parade, and watching the Aoi Matsuri go by while listening to the ox carts’ distinctive creaking allows the viewers to feel like they've been transported back in time to the Heian capital.

Things to See/Do

  • Reenactment

  • Shinto Ritual

  • Period Costume

  • Parade

  • Horse Riding

Schedule

May 15th, 10:30~

Map

aoi matsuri route map

Access

Kamigamo Jinja

Address

〒603-8047 京都府京都市北区上賀茂本山339

TEL 075-781-0011
FAX 075-702-6618
WEB http://www.kamigamojinja.jp/english/index.html

Admission

  • General Admission: Free

Hours

  • General Admission: 08:30 – 17:00
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

Shimogamo Jinja

Address

〒606-0807 京都府京都市 左京区下鴨泉川町59

TEL 075-781-0010
FAX 075-781-4722
WEB http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/english.html

Admission

  • General Admission: Free

Hours

  • General Admission: 06:30 – 17:00 (may change depending on the season)
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

  • By Keihan Main Line Train ⇒ Demachiyanagi Station ⇒ 10 minutes walking
  • City Bus Route 4 ⇒ Shimogamo Jinja-mae Bus Stop