Kyoto, which has abundant tourism resources, is a popular area that is always supported by the top rankings of “tourist destinations you want to visit.”
The Gion Festival held in July is famous for the festival in Kyoto, but the Aoi Matsuri Festival, which has over 1000 years of history, is also a representative festival in Kyoto. It is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto (Aoi Matsuri Festival in May, Gion Matsuri Festival in July, Jidai Matsuri Festival in October) and is said to be the most elegant festival.
On the 15th of May every year, the fresh green dazzling city of Kyoto is colored by a dynasty picture scroll just like the Heian period, attracting about 80,000 tourists from all over Japan as well as local Kyoto.
The Aoi Matsuri Festival is an annual festival of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, and a ritual is held from the beginning of May every year. On May 15th, as a festival highlight, a procession dressed in Heian nobility will travel from Kyoto Gyoen to Shimogamo Shrine to Kamigamo Shrine for about 8km in the city.
The biggest highlight is “Roto no gi (the on road ceremony)”, an elegant dynasty procession. This ritual will be a procession of about 1 km in length with a total of about 500 people, including the ambassador who is the main character of the “Aoi Matsuri Festival”. Leave the Kyoto Imperial Palace as it is the Heian nobility, and walk about 8km to Shimogamo Shrine via Kamigamo Shrine.
Speaking of “Aoi Matsuri Festival”, the heroine of the heroine of Aoi-matsuri Festival is the center of attention. Saiou is a female imperial family who served Kamosha Shrine as a priestess. Saiodai will perform this Saio, and will be surrounded by female officers and servants, and will participate in a gorgeous and pretty procession.
Saiodai is chosen by unmarried women related to Kyoto. Like the Gion Festival chigo (child), being chosen by Kyoto people is regarded as a great honor. Originally it was selected from a family with high family characteristics such as former nobility (nobles and daimyo).
The Aoi Matsuri Festival can of course be enjoyed for free, but if you want to enjoy the festival even more, paid seats are recommended. In particular, the paid seats at the recent Aoi Matsuri Festival have two new types of seats with earphone guides to make the festival more enjoyable. Three types of paid seats are on sale, including new types of seats.
“Aoi Matsuri Festival”, one of the three largest festivals in Kyoto. The summer Gion festival and the gorgeous Yamahoko (festival car) are good, but what about the elegant “Aoi Matsuri Festival” before the summer? You can feel the taste of ancient Kyoto as if you were back in time during the Heian period.
One of the three largest festivals in Kyoto
It is said that Aoi Matsuri Festival in May, Gion Matsuri Festival in July, and Jidai Matsuri Festival in October are “the three largest festivals in Kyoto.”
The “Aoi Festival” especially the graceful dynasty procession of “Heian nobles”, it is the festival representing “the three largest festivals of Kyoto” which goes to Kamigamo-jinja Shrine through Shimogamo-jinja Shrine from Kyoto Imperial Palace. Among the nobles in the middle of the Heian era, speaking of “festival,” it refered to “Aoi Matsuri Festival”.
All were decorated with the leaf of the aoi (mallow)
The “Aoi Matsuri Festival”, which is formally called “Kamo Matsuri Festival”, is the annual festival of Shimogamo-jinja Shrine and Kamigamo-jinja Shrine is held on May 15 every year.
The “Kamo Matsuri Festival” came to be called the “Aoi Matsuri Festival” after the festival is revived in 1694 of the Edo period. It is because all were decorated with the leaf of the aoi (mallow) from the blind of the main hall of the Imperial Palace, the crown and the dress of an Imperial messenger, to oxen and horses in those days.
The curse of ‘Kamo Daijin’
Approximately 1,400 years ago, in the days of the Emperor Kinmei, the whole country was hit by a disaster and suffered from an extremely poor harvest. When the famous fortune-teller of those days divined, it was said that the curse of ‘Kamo Daijin’ (the great god of Kamo) was the cause. Therefore the Emperor sent an Imperial envoy, and after holding a festival, a curse subsided. This was the origin of the “Kamo Matsuri Festival”.
The highlight is “Roto no gi”
In the Aoi Matsuri Festival, “Roto no gi” (the on road ceremony) and “Shato no gi” (ceremony conducted on the shrine premises) are performed now.
The highlight is “Roto no gi”.
People dressed in Heian period costumes march with a gissha (cow carriage) from Kyoto Imperial Palace via Shimogamo-jinja Shrine to Kamigamo-jinja Shrine and Konoe no tsukai (Imperial Guard delegate), and as guards, officers from Kebiishicho (Office of Police and Judicial Chief) such as ‘Kebiishi jo’ (second officer of the imperial police bureau), ‘Kebiishi shi’ (third officer of the imperial police bureau), Yamashiro no tsukai (delegate of the Yamashiro Province), Maryo no tsukai (delegate of Maryo (the section taking care of imperial horses)), and Kura no tsukai (delegate of Kuraryo (the Inner Treasury Office)), and make a main march.
Yabusame are also the main events of Aoi Matsuri
Yabusame (the art of shooting arrows on horseback) are also the main events of Aoi Matsuri Festival. Prior to Aoi Matsuri Festival of 15th, it is performed now in Shimogamo-jinja Shrine on May 3.
|Name:||Aoi Matsuri Festival|
|Address:||Kamigamomotoyama 339 Kyoto Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047 Japan|
|Access:||Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma-sen Line “Kitayama-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)|
|Tel:||(+81)75-781-0011 (Kamigamo-jinja Shrine)|
*It is basically free to watch the festival, but places that have fine views may charge for a spot.