Jidai Matsuri時代祭

Summary

Entertainers and dancers from the Muromachi period participate in the Jidai Matsuri at Heian Shrine.

Considered to be one of the top three festivals in all of Kyoto despite its status as a relatively new tradition, Heian Shrine's Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) is held on October 22nd from noon each year.

A noblewoman wearing a veil appears in the Jidai Matsuri at Heian Shrine.

Heian Shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto and to promote a city-wide revival amidst a period of concern for Kyoto’s future after the capital was moved to Tokyo in 1868, taking along with it the Emperor, the imperial family, and a majority of the government. The Festival of the Ages started as a celebration of Kyoto’s history and traditional arts as well as a ritual to honor two emperors connected with unifying the country and consolidating imperial power.

Tomoe Gozen participates in the parade during the Jidai Matsuri at Heian Shrine.

The festival 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. Painstakingly recreated and researched, going so far as to even make and dye the fabric with the same techniques as were used a thousand years ago, the procession is very much a living history museum marching by.  Not only do famous historical figures and princesses make appearance, but warriors, priests, politicians, merchants, and commoners are all represented as well.

Dancers perform during the parade at the Jidai Matsuri at Heian Shrine.

With that many characters, the Jidai Matsuri gives a very comprehensive look into the clothing and appearance of Japanese past.

The parade begins from 12 pm and makes its way from the old Imperial Palace to the site of the Heian Shrine. For those who want to take it easy, paid seating is offered at three different locations along the route (at the Imperial Palace, midway through the route on Oike Street, and at Heian Shrine), and information is available in English in pamphlets on the day.

Things to See/Do

  • Reenactment

  • Shinto Ritual

  • Period Costume

  • Parade

  • Mikoshi

Schedule

October 22nd, 12:00~

Map

jidai festival route

Access

Gosho (Imperial Palace)

Address

〒602-0881 京都市上京区京都御苑3

TEL 075-211-1215
WEB http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/kyoto.html

Admission

  • General Admission: Free

Hours

  • General Admission: Changes seasonally, check the official website.
  • Closed: Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a public holiday), December 28 – January 4, any day when Imperial Court functions are scheduled or when "other unavoidable circumstances occur".

Transportation

  • Subway Karasuma Line ⇒ Imadegawa Station OR Marutamachi Station ⇒ 5 minutes walking
  • Subway Tōzai Line ⇒ Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station ⇒ 20 minutes walking
  • Keihan Line ⇒ Jingū Marutamachi Station OR Demachiyanagi Station ⇒ 10 minutes walking  
  • City Bus ⇒ Karasuma Imadegawa Bus Stop OR Furitsu Idai Byōin-mae Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking

Heian Jingū

Address

〒606-8341 京都市左京区岡崎西天王町

TEL 075-761-0221
FAX 075-761-0225
WEB http://www.heianjingu.or.jp/

Admission

  • General Admission: ¥600 for Shin’en Garden
  • Junior High School, High School: ¥300 for Shin’en Garden
  • Primary School: ¥300 for Shin’en Garden

Hours

  • General Admission: 06:00 – 17:30 (Shin’en Garden: 08:30 – 17:00)
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

  • Subway Tōzai Line ⇒ Higashiyama Station ⇒ 10 minutes walking
  • From Kyoto Station City Bus Route 5 or Kyoto Bus Route 100 ⇒ Okazaki Kōen Bus Stop or Heian Jingū-mae Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
  • Keihan Train Line ⇒ Sanjō Station or Jingū Marutamachi Station ⇒ 15 minutes walking