September brings a hint of crisp coolness back into the air as the days go by, and Kyoto festivals abound to take advantage of the end of summer, highlighted by leisurely moon viewing parties.

With summer ending, Kyoto begins to wind up for the activities of the fall season that include a plethora of festivals and events.  A popular tradition during this month is moon viewing, where you can leisurely behold the beauty of the moon, often accompanied by poetry and special sweets.  Now is the time to enjoy getting out again, whether that means gardens, seasonal flowers, a river cruise, or the last days of the year’s cormorant fishing season.

Priests perform a ritual before the tatesuna at the Chōyō no Sekku at Kamigamo Jinja.
September 9th, 2019

Chōyō no Sekku

The number nine is considered to be an auspicious number by the Shinto religion, and based on that belief Kamigamo Shrine in northern Kyoto hosts the Chrysanthemum Festival (Chōyō no Sekku) on the ninth day of the ninth month.

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Meigetsu Kangen-sai Blue Sky
September 15th - 18th, 2020

Meigetsu Kangen-sai

The Meigetsu Kangen-sai festival is one of many events held in honor of harvest moon viewings once enjoyed by court nobility in the Heian period. Visitors in Kyoto can carry on that tradition today by watching a variety of musical performances by firelight as the moon rises over Shimogamo Shrine.

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Umeshu Matsuri Poster
September 13th - 16th, 2019

Japan Umeshu Festa

Kitano Tenmangū shrine in northern Kyoto has become the Kyoto host site of the Zenkoku Umeshu Matsuri (Japan Umeshu Festa)! This event brings together umeshu (plum wine) brewers from all over the country to offer samples of their products.

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The dragon paraded down from the temple precincts at Seiryu-e.
September 14th - 15th, 2020


The Seiryū-e (Blue Dragon Festival) was created to honor Seiryū, one of four divine god-beasts said to guard Kyoto’s borders against encroaching misfortune and disaster.

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A statue of the young Yoshitsune in the main hall at the Yoshitsune-sai at Kurama-dera.
September 15th, 2019


The main public event of the Yoshitsune Festival is a martial arts demonstration performed on the main temple steps.

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September 21st, 2019

Kamigyō Takigi Nō

Shiramine Shrine, a small shrine in Kyoto's Kamigyō Ward, is host to the Annual Kamigyō Takigi Nō performance. Takigi nō, or "firelight nō", is performed throughout an evening on a lit open-air stage.

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A scene from
September 19th - 22nd, 2020

Hagi Matsuri

During the hagi (bush clover) season worshipers at Nashinoki Shrine near the Kyoto Imperial Palace can enjoy not only the gorgeous flowers but also a series of cultural performances.

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Hot wax is applied to styled hair at the Kushi Matsuri at Yasui Konpiragū.
September 23rd, 2019

Kushi Matsuri

Representing hairstyles and ornamentation from the Kofun Period all the way to the present, the Kushi Matsuri parade has volunteers carrying signs distinguishing which era the women represent.

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