An ancient festival as elegant as a Heian picture scroll

Aoi Matsuri Festival (葵祭) is the most important annual rituals for both Shimogamo Jinja shrine and Kamigamo Jinja shrine. A festival with a 1400 years of continuous history stretching from the Heian period all the way to modern times. The highlight of the festival is the “Roto no Gi”, a tasteful Heian-period dynastic parade with some 500 people wearing splendid ancient costumes and traditional make-up which follows a route of some 8 kilometers through the main streets of Kyoto from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines.

The role of this heroine is selected from among all unmarried women living in Kyoto. She must dress in the formal style of the imperial 12 layers of kimono, weighing 30 kg in total.

Aoi festival
Aoi festival
Aoi festival
Aoi festival

When the parade arrives at the two shrines, traditional Japanese dance performances “azuma-asobimai” and rituals involving horse archery “yabusame” and various other ceremonies take place at Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines.

Aoi Matsuri Route

Aoi-festival route

Date : May 15th
Dates and functions are subjects to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.

Schedule : 10:30, The parade will depart from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, then, slowly proceed to Kamigamo Jinja Shrine via Shimogamo Jinja Shrine around 15:30.

Paid spectator seats are available on the approach to the Kyoto Imperial Gardens and Shimogamo Shrine so that the parade can be watched in comfort.

Access :
Kyoto Imperial Palace : 5-minute walk from Imadegawa station on the subway Karasuma Line.
Shimogamo-jinja Shrine : 5-minute walk from Shimogamo-jinja-mae bus stop. Shimogamo-jinja-mae bus stop can be reached from JR Kyoto Station on Kyoto city bus No.4 or No.205.
Kamigamo-jinja Shrine : Close to Kamigamo-jinja-mae bus stop on Kyoto city bus No.4.