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Kyoto City Tourism Associaion

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Aoi Matsuri Festival 2016

Aoi Matsuri Festival 2016
May. 15 (Sun.)
*Postponed in case of rain.
Aoi Matsuri Festival is the most important annual rituals for both Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and Kamigamo Jinja Shrine. Although the festival is more commonly known as "Aoi Matsuri Festival," its official name is Kamo-sai Festival.
This is one of the 3 Choku-sai festivals (Kamo-sai, Iwashimizu-sai, Kasuga-sai). Shrine priests offer aoi (species of wild ginger) to the deity and costume of the people, carts, shrine halls and nearby buildings are decorated with the leaves as well. The festival remains elegant imperial atmosphere of the Heian period (794-1185). The procession will depart from the Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30, then, slowly proceed to Kamigamo Jinja Shrine via Shimogamo Jinja Shrine.
For viewing the procession, the charged seats are recommended which will be set at the Kyoto Imperial Park, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine.


Movie of the Aoi Matsuri Festival 2015 can be watched.

Aoi Matsuri Festival Pre-Rituals

Kamo Kurabe Uma Ashizoroe Shiki Horse Ceremony16-05-2.bmp
May 1 (Sun.)
Kamigamo Jinja Shrine
Before the actual Kamo Kurabe ceremony, the race pairing will be decided as checking horse's age and their speed. This ceremony will show visitors a quite a spectacular view with people dressed in a traditional Heian-period costumes riding horses and giving whip to them (from around 13:00).
Access: Kyoto City Bus #4 "Kamigamo Jinja-mae"

Yabusame Shinji Arrow Shooting Ritual16-05-3.bmp
May 3 (Tue., national holiday); 13:00-15:30
Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
This is one of the old pre-rituals of the Aoi Festival. People shoot an arrow called "Kabura-ya" while riding on a horse running at the full speed. People dressed in a traditional costumes will do a wild stunt while riding horses.
Access: Kyoto City Bus #205 "Shimogamo Jinja-mae"

Purification Ritual for the Saio-dai and Her Servant16-05-4.bmp
May 4 (Wed., national holiday) From 10:00
Kamigamo Jinja Shrine
Saio-dai is the most important role in the Aoi Festival. Every year, a young unmarried woman is chosen from Kyoto citizens to serve as a shrine maiden in the festival. The Saio-dai and over 50 servants will take a special purification ritual.
Access: Kyoto City Bus #4 "Kamigamo Jinja-mae"

Busha Shinji Arrow Shooting Ritual16-05-5.bmp
May 5 (Thurs., national holiday) From 11:00
Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
This ritual uses bows and arrows. Since it is believed that sound of bow can get rid of bad spirits, several rituals using bows and arrows are held and people pray for the festival safety.
Access: Kyoto City Bus #205 "Shimogamo Jinja-mae"

Kamo Kurabe Uma Horse Ritual16-05-6.bmp
May 5 (Thurs., national holiday)
Kamigamo Jinja Shrine
This is the ritual that has been holding at the imperial palace from the 11th century. Since the ritual was dedicated to the Shrine, it continued to be held until today. On the same day, from 13:00, the Kurabe Uma-e Horse Ritual is held from around 14:00. Two horses run and compete with each other from 14:00.
Access: Kyoto City Bus #4 "Kamigamo Jinja-mae"

Mikage Festival16-05-7.bmp
May 12 (Thurs.) From 9:30
Shimogamo Jinja Shrine
Before the main festival starts, people prepare for welcoming the spirit of the deity to Shimogamo Shrine. A ritual of "Azuma Asobi (from 16:00)" which is the traditional elegant dance will take place in the Tadasu no Mori forest in the precinct of the shrine.
Access: Kyoto City Bus #205 "Shimogamo Jinja-mae"

Procession Course


Kyoto Imperial Park (start: 10:30) →
Shimogamo Jinja Shrine (arrival: 11:40, start: 14:20) →
Kamigamo Jinja Shrine (arrival: 15:30)

*Postponed in case of rain.
*Indicated times are when the head of the procession arrive at the place.
*It takes about 1 hour for the entire procession pass one location.

Viewing seat tickets is recommended for the Aoi Matsuri Festival!

Information on Aoi Matsuri Festival viewing seat tickets
To view the Aoi Matsuri Festival in a relaxed manner, the charged seat will be recommended.
Ticket: 2,050yen (tax included; reserved seating with a pamphlet)
Venue: Kyoto Imperial Park, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine

Information on Aoi Matsuri Festical viewing seat tickets with English Earphone Guidance
Parade viewing seats with English earphone guidance and a pamphlet in the Kyoto Imperial Park are available at 3,500 yen (tax incl.; reserved seating with a pamphlet).

*Notice when buying the ticket
-Due to the rain on the festival day, it will be postponed to the 16th, following day (it will be decided in the morning)
-When postponed, the ticket can be used on the 16th (ticket is not refundable)
-Please make your travel schedule beforehand as for the preparation for the festival postponing.
-Tickets returns and refunds are not accepted.
-Please forgive us in advance when tickets are sold out.

To make it easier to purchase the tickets for international visitors, ticket will be sold at the tourist desk at a major travel agencies as well.

Ticket Available at Website
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<Website is only in English. >

Ticket Available at
Visitor Information Center
<8:30 to 19:00, daily>
JR Kyoto station 2F
TEL (+81)-75-343-0548

Information Center Operated by Travel Agency
3F Kyoto Tower Bldg., (in front of JR Kyoto station)
TEL (+81)-75-341-0280

・KYOTO TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER by H.I.S. <9:00 to 18:00 daily>
3F TSUJIKURA Bldg, 380 Komeya-cho, Kawaramachi Shijo, Nakagyo-ku,Kyoto, Kyoto
TEL (+81)-75-253-0288

・OSAKA TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER by H.I.S.<9:00 to 21:00 daily>
8F Shinsaibashi OPA, 1-4-3 Nishi Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
TEL (+81)-6-6253-8866