The five day long Zuiki Matsuri is said to have a one thousand year history tracing all the way back to the mid-900s, inspired by a procession linked to the Kitano Tenmangū deity to expressing gratitude for bountiful harvests.
The procession departs from Kitano Tenmangū shrine on the first day, carrying with it several omikoshi. After making their neighborhood rounds the parade arrives at a temporary shrine and rituals are conducted, including the Yaotome Dance performed by young girls. After a three day period the portable shrines are all carried back Kitano Tenmangū in a parade with ox-drawn carts, with the ceremonies concluding the next day with a final dance offering. For both processions, the geiko and maiko of Kamishichiken district turn out in their full splendor to watch the portable shrine move through their streets.
The most eye-catching aspect of this festival, however, is the omikoshi decorated with vegetables and other dried products. Starting with a wood base, taro stems (zuiki) are used for the roof, and dried greens, marigolds, tofu skin, and wheat serve to cover the rest of the surface. On each side, art panels are constructed depicting legendary scenes and creatures also using vegetables, and strings of colorful dried scarlet eggplant, citrus, and peppers hang as decorations off each corner. With that kind of portable shrine it’s easy to see how this event is one of the most iconic autumn festivals in Kyoto.
Things to See/Do
Notice: In 2021, the event was canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
October 1st: Departure Ritual at Kitano Tenmangū, 09:30
Omikoshi Depart Kitano Tenmangū (Shinkō-sai), 13:00
Arrival at Otabisho & Yaotome Dance, 16:00
October 2nd: Ritual Tea Offering at Otabisho, 10:00
October 3rd: Kabuto no Gokuhōsen, 15:00
October 4th: Departure Ritual at Otabisho, 10:00
Omikoshi Depart Otabisho (Kankō-sai), 13:00
Arrival at Kitano Tenmangū, 16:00
Arrival Ritual at Kitano Tenmangū, 17:00
October 5th: Goen-sai & Yaotome Dance, 15:30
〒602-8386 京都府京都市 上京区馬喰町
- General Admission: Free
- Treasure Hall:
- General Admission: ¥300
- Junior High School, High School: ¥250
- Primary School: ¥150
- General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00 (07:00 – 21:00 on the 25th each month)
- Closed: No closing days