The heat of summer finally dissipates into the cool weather of October, just in time for two popular festivals, the Jidai Matsuri and the Kurama Fire Festival. Fall is here, and the leaves of Kyoto just begin to hint at changing colors.

Finally leaving behind the heat of summer, October is a pleasantly cool month in Kyoto that is full of festivals and food to enjoy.  The incredibly popular Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) and Kurama Fire Festival are held at the end of the month, bringing in scores of tourists from around the country and beyond.  Now that the fall season has begun in earnest, the seasonally minded city breaks out its tasty autumn flavors and décor.

The portable shrine passes through the Kamishichiken geisha district during the Zuiki Matsuri at Kitano Tenmangū.
October 1st - 5th, 2022

Zuiki Matsuri

The most eye-catching aspect of the Zuiki Matsuri at Kitano Tenmangū is the omikoshi (portable shrine) decorated with vegetables and other dried products.

See more
Mishoryu Sasaoka Ikebana Temple
October 3rd, 2021

Mishōryū Sasaoka Ikebana Exhibition

The Mishōryū Sasaoka school of ikebana holds its annual Kyoto Branch Exhibition at Shōren-in, a gorgeous 13th century temple, artfully combining ikebana flower arrangements with scenic garden views and lavishly decorated halls.

See more
Kotobuki-kai Chushingura Finale
October 8th - 13th, 2019


The famous geiko and maiko of Kyoto’s five geisha districts perform large-scale performances for the public once a year, but what many people don’t know is that each district also holds a smaller, more intimate performance... In Kamishichiken, this performance is called Kotobuki-kai!

See more
The abbess of the temple leads nuns in the memorial service during the Ningyō Kuyō at Hōkyō-ji.
October 14th, 2022

Ningyō Kuyō

Hōkyō-ji, known as “the Doll Temple”, holds a Doll Memorial Service in October to give a proper send off to dolls and toys that have spent years by their owners' sides.

See more
The blade is held with protective cotton during the Awata Taisai at Awata Shrine.
October 15th, 2022

Awata Taisai

Awata Shrine, a small shrine located in northern Higashiyama near famous temples Shōren-in and Chion-in, boasts a colorful and exciting series of annual rituals and parades in early to mid-October.

See more
A rider aims for a large wooden target during the Kasagake Shinji at Kamigamo Shrine.
October 16th, 2022

Kasagake Shinji

Kasagake Archery is one of the three original styles of archery performed for the entertainment of shrine deities in Japan, and can be see at Kamigamo Shrine in October.

See more
The Saigū and other participants praying during the Saigū Gyōretsu at Nonomiya Shrine.
October 16th, 2022

Saigū Gyōretsu

Nonomiya Shrine holds a reenactment of the priestess' departure for Ise called the Saigū Gyōretsu each year in October, where visitors to the gorgeous Arashiyama area can watch a procession of men and women in court regalia make their way from the shrine down to the river.

See more
Sokujō-in Procession Masks
October 17th, 2021

Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Procession Service

The heavenly host of Amida Buddha is given form at Sokujō-in temple each October for the Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō, with participants donning masks, golden halos, and rich brocade clothing to transform themselves into holy boddhisatvas and make a pilgrimage between two temple halls.

See more
Falcon and falconer performing during the Funeoka Taisai at Kenkun shrine.
October 19th, 2022

Funaoka Taisai

Kenkun Shrine's Funaoka Taisai was conceived as a festival to extol the accomplishments of Oda Nobunaga, recognize his contributions to the country, and tell future generations about his history.

See more
Kiyomizuyaki no Sato Matsuri ceramics pottery chawan tea bowls
October 21st - 23rd, 2022

Kiyomizuyaki no Sato Matsuri

The Kiyomizuyaki no Sato Matsuri is a large pottery festival showcasing goods from both local producers and those from all around the country, with a focus on the famous Kyoto ware known as Kyō-yaki/Kiyomizu-yaki.

See more
Entertainers and dancers from the Muromachi period participate in the Jidai Matsuri at Heian Shrine.
October 22nd, 2022

Jidai Matsuri

The Jidai Matsuri is primarily composed of a two-kilometer, five-hour long procession of countless volunteers dressed in historical garb, representing Japanese cultural history from the Meiji era all the way back to the Enryaku era in the 780s.

See more
Local men carry heavy torches during the Kurama no Hi Matsuri at Yuki Shrine.
October 22nd, 2022

Kurama no Hi Matsuri

The Kurama Fire Festival is one of the most famous fire-based festivals in Kyoto and is also considered one of its most eccentric.

See more