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Festivals in Kyoto
DATE MONTH PLACE NAME
3 January Yasaka-jinja Karuta Hajime Pairs of women who are dressed in Heian-period court costumes play hyaku-nin-isshu(an ancient Japanese card game).
4 Shimogamo-jinja Kemari Hajime Men who are dressed in Heian-period court costumes play kemari(A traditional court ball game).
2-3 February Yoshida-jinja Setsubun
Matsuri
People climb up to Yoshida-jinja to bless their homes by scattering soybeans and to watch a big bonfire.
25 Kitano-Tenman-gu Baika-sai Baika(plums) are dedicated to god.There is an open-air tea ceremony held by geisha.
3 March Shimogamo-jinja Hina-Matsuri Men and Women who are dressed in Heian-period court costumesfloat hina-ningyo(dolls)which is made of paper on the river in order to wish their health of body and mind.
15 Seiryo-ji O-taimatu Shiki This celebrates Shaka's death with Nenbutsu Kyogen.Taimatu (torches) are lit to divine the new harvest.
Second Sunday April Imamiya-jinja Yasurai Matsuri This is a rite against plague with dancers in demon costumes .Large parasols are paraded through the streets.The parasols collect disease-causing spirits and take them to the shrine to be exorcised.
21-29 Mibu-dera Mibu Kyogen Buddhist miracle plays are held. They teach Buddhist doctrine through pantmaime. .
15 May From the Imperial palace to Shimogamo-jinja Aoi Matsuri This is one of the most graceful and solemon festivals in Japan. It has been preserved since the 6th century. The most attractive feature is the Imperial Messenger's Procession consisting of a gorgeos carriage which pulled by an ox, courtiers and court ladies in traditional costumes.
Third
Sunday
Arashiyama area Mifune Matsuri About 30 boats float on Oi-river.TraditionalJapanese entertainments are held on the boats.
1 June Kibune-jinja Kibune Matsuri Otome-mai(a kind of Japanese dancing) is dedicated to god.
Mikoshi
(portable shrine) are carried along the kibune-gawa.
1-2 Heian-Jingu Kyoto Takigi Noh Noh play is held by torchlight in the courtyard of the shrine.
20 Kurama-dera Taketori E Shiki Eight priests in robes and hoods of yamabushi (moutain priests) form 2 teams and race to hack to pieces of bamboo.
1-31 July Yasaka Jinja
Shijo-Karasuma
Area
Gion Matsuri This festival last through July. The origin of this festival is back in AD869, a serious plague was prevalant in the city.People thought this had taken place under the influenseof the god Susano-no-Mikoto(the son of the gods).This festival was offered as a prayer of relief to him.
This is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. Its highlihts are yoi-yama which is held on the 16th and a Yamahoko-junko parade on the 17th.
16 August Daimonji-yama, etc Daimon-ji Gozan Okuribi This is held to bid farewell to souls of ancestors. Fires are lit on six mountains in form of Chinese character(daix2,myou,hou) or other shapes(torii, a ship). The character for dai on Daimonji-yama is lit first at 8p.m.. Others are lit at 10 minutes intervals.
23-24 Adashino-Nenbutsu-dera Sento kuyo This mass is held in honor of the souls of the dead. Each of them is represented by one of the thousands of Jizo (guardian deity of the people)at this temple. Candles are placed at each Jizo.
21 September Shimogamo-Shrine Meigetsu
Kangensa
i
People gather to appreciate beautiful autumn moon ,and enjoy listening to Koto (Japanese traditional harp)play,shakuhachi(Japanese bamboo flute)and watching a kind of Japanese dancing.
Middle of Daikaku-ji
Osawa-no-Ike
Kangetsu-no Yube People appreciate beautiful autumn moon reflected on Ohsawa-no-ike(a pond next to Daikaku-ji), also enjoy listening to Koto (Japanese traditional harp)play.There is a tea ceremony.
Third
Sunday
October Sokujo-in Niju-go Bosatsu Neri Kuyo A Procession of 25 children who are wearing costumes of gold brocade play the role of Bosatsu(Buddhist saint )and parade around the temple.
22 From The Imperial Palace to HeianJingu Jidai Matsuri More than two thousand people parade from the Imperial Palace to Heian-jingu.They are dressed in costumes ranging from the 8-19th centuries.
The parade starts at noon.The gorgeous procession goes on for about one hour and thirty minuites.
22 Yuki-jinja Kurama-no
Hi-Matsuri
More than 500 torches are lit for this festival. Mikoshi are carried through the streets.O-kagura(a kind of traditional Japanese dancing) is dedicated to god.
Second
Sunday
November In the Arashiyama area Arashiyama
Momiji Matsuri
A procession of boats moves along the Oi-river.TraditionalJapanese entertainments are held on the boats.People also enjoy autumn colors in the Arashiyama area.
23 Tofuku-ji Fude Kuyo This service is held for used calligraphy Brushes, pens and pencils. People wish their great progress in writing.
7-8 December Senbon-Shaka-do Daikon Daki Daikon(Japanese radish) and age(slices of tofu, which are fried.)cooked in a big pot are served. It's believed eating the daikon keeps them healthy and safe.
8 Hourin-ji Hari Kuyo This service is held for used needles.People stick broken and rusted needles into the konjaku (jelly) and wish their great progress in Japanese dress making and peace always reigns over their household.
The schedules can be changed because of the weather,etc. Please check the details before you go.

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