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Special Events

Miyakoodori (Miyoko dance)
Miyakoodori (Miyoko dance)
Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (Apr.1-30)
The first Kyoto Exhibition was held in 1872 to revitalize Kyoto after the capital of Japan had moved to Tokyo. During the exhibition, the Miyakoodori was first featured having originally been performed as a side show by maiko and geiko (young geisha) and since the late 19th century the miyakoodori has continued as is for over 100 years although performances were halted for a time during the war. The 134th miyakoodori performance will be held in 2006.
Aoi Matsuri (Aoi-Festival)
Aoi Matsuri (Aoi-Festival)
Shimogamo Shrine, Kamigamo Shrine (May 15)
The Aoi Matsuri is one of the three major Kyoto festivals and is famous for being the most elegant and fascinating festival in the nation. The graceful parade with imitation Heian lords leading the way leaves the Kyoto Gosho and the 500 strong parade heads to Kamigamo Shrine via Shimogamo Shrine. The festival has been held as a major national event since the Heian period so it is one of the rare festivals that still retains the traditional customs of a dynasty long past.
Gion Matsuri
Gion Matsuri
Yasaka Shrine (Jul. 1-31)
The dynamic and gorgeous Gion Matsui is an 1100-year festival centered on Yasaka Shrine. Various events and religious services are held from July 1 to 31 and on the night of the 16th, yoiyama, a Gion-bayashi form of music is played as many yamahoko (floats) decorate and enthrall the town. The Yamahoko junko is a parade of the floats around the town with the Naginata-hoko (float) in the lead on the 17th,
Kyoto Gojozaka Ceramic Festival
Kyoto Gojozaka Ceramic Festival
Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine, with stalls on Gojozaka Street (Aug.7-10)
Gojozaka was the birthplace of the kiyomizu-yaki brand of ceramics and today is little changed from days gone by. Potters ateliers, potties, wholesalers and retailers still throng the area in and around Gojozaka street and many people from all over Japan visit the ceramic festival in search of bargains making this a regular part of the summer time scenery in the Kyoto month of August.

More Information (Japanese version only)
Daimonji Gozan Okuribi
Daimonji Gozan Okuribi
On August 16th, great bonfires in the shape of kanji characters, a ship and a torii (shrine gate) are lit on the hillside of mountains surrounding the Kyoto basin. The bonfires are lit one after the other from 8 p.m. onwards and this is one of the Obon festivals aimed at sending the spirits of the dead back to the next world. The whole event leaves folk in no doubt that this is one of the most important festivals of the year in Kyoto.
Full Moon Viewing Party
Full Moon Viewing Party
Daikakuji (chushu, or three days in September)
The full moon viewing party is held during September beside the Osawanoike Pond, one of the three major ponds with a good view of the harvest moon. The festival offers so elegant an atmosphere with many ryutosen (dragon headed boats) floating around accompanied by the tones of koto music wafting through the air.
Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)
Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)
Heian-Jingu Shrine (Oct. 22)
The Jidai Matsuri dates back to 1895 as a festival jointly celebrating the construction of the Heian-Jingu Shrine and the 1100th anniversary of the former capital's relocation to Kyoto at the beginning of the Heian period. The shrine was built in part to revitalize Kyoto which seemed to go into decline following the Meiji Restoration.
Kurama no Himatsuri (Great Fire Festival of Kurama)
Kurama no Himatsuri (Great Fire Festival of Kurama)
Yuki Shrine (Oct. 22)
This is a dynamic, soul-stirring fire festival. The Kurama are located along the street stretching from Kyoto to Tanba. Bonfires burn in houses along the way and numerous torches illuminate the area most impressively.
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