Home > Kyoto Annual Events > Archive - January

January Event Highlights 2018
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Boat Ride

The Hozugawa Kudari is a river ride that goes from Kameoka to Arashiyama, Kyoto (about 16 km in 2 hours) along a stunning river gorge with rapids and wonderful mountain views; Boats depart every hour between 10:00-14:30 (the last boat departs at 14:30). *No operation from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4.

Tickets: 4,100 yen; 2,700 yen (4-12 years old); Access: An 8-min. walk from the north exit of JR Sagano Line Kameoka Stn.; Tel: 0771-22-5846 (Hozugawa Yusen Association); www.hozugawakudari.jp

Jan. 1-3
Obuku-cha New Year's Tea Service at Rokuhara Mitsu-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

A cup of green tea made with pure water drawn on New Year's Day will be served to visitors; It is believed that drinking this tea at the beginning of the year can prevent illness throughout the year.

Admission free; 300 yen for Obuku-cha tea; 9:00-17:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-561-6980; rokuhara.or.jp

Jan. 2-4
New Year Calligraphy at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The deity of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is Sugawara no Michizane, an important court officer as well as a gifted poet and calligrapher in the Heian period (794-1185); From 13:00 on the 3rd, kyogen comic theatre will be performed; People also come here during this period to write the first calligraphy of the year (50 yen/paper; 10:00-16:00).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; Tel: 075-461-0005; kitanotenmangu.or.jp

Jan. 3
Karuta Hajime at Yasaka Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At 13:00, fourteen women dressed in Heian period court costumes play karuta (a traditional Japanese card game introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-561-6155; www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 4
Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Kemari, a kind of football game dating from the Heian period (794-1185) is played here by men in court costumes starting at 13:30.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamojinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0010; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 9-10
Ebisu Festival in Gion at Yasaka Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 15:00 on the 9th, a boat carrying Shichifukujin, the seven gods of good fortune, will be paraded between Shijo Karasuma and Yasaka Shrine; An auspicious bamboo decoration will be presented to visitors on both days.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-561-6155; www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 11-14
Gafu Bonsai Exhibition at the Miyako Messe

Over 1,200 bonsai dwarf trees will be exhibited; These special trees have been carefully cultivated by famous bonsai specialists.

Entry: 800 yen; 9:30-16:30 (until 15:00 on the last day); Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, #100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heian Jingumae; All Japan Bonsai Association: Tel: 046-269-9891; www.miyakomesse.jp

Jan. 14
New Year Japanese Archery Competition at Sanjusangen-do Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This interesting and difficult archery contest originated in the 16th century; Today, the contest is mostly ceremonial but many archers compete (9:00-15:30).

Admission free (generally 600 yen); Access: Kyoto City Bus #100, 206, get off at Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae; Tel: 075-561-0467; sanjusangendo.jp

Jan. 15-31
Azuki-gayu Festival at Torin-in Temple in Myoshin-ji Temple Complex

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Kyoto people believe that eating red bean rice porridge (azuki-gayu) at the beginning of the year will prevent illness; Azuki-gayu is one of the vegetarian dishes regularly eaten in Zen temples.

Tickets: 3,800 yen (plum tea, azuki-gayu, shojin vegetarian cuisine included; reservations not required); 11:00-15:00; Access: JR Sagano Line, Hanazono Stn.; Tel: 075-463-1334; www.myoshinji.or.jp

Jan. 16
Musha Shinji at Kamigamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

A Japanese archery event will be held from 10:30 to ward off the bad luck of the coming year; There are demons painted on the rear of each target.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Jan. 20
Yutate Kagura Ceremony at Jonan-gu Shrine

A Miko, a shrine maiden, holding a bamboo shoot, scatters boiling water from the large iron pot swiftly around to get rid of bad spirits and pray for good health for the new-year.

Admission free; From 14:00; Access: A 15-min. walk from Subway Karasuma Line or Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Takeda Stn.; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Jan. 7
To-ji Temple: This market is focused on antiques of all kinds; Usually not too crowded and great value all around; 7:00-16:00.

Jan. 8, 18, 28
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market offering local products; 10:00-15:00.

Jan. 15
Chion-ji Temple: Kyoto's largest handicraft market; An absolutely amazing range of handmade items at incredible prices; 8:00-16:00.

Jan. 21
To-ji Temple: Also known as Kobo-san, this mega temple market offers everything and is extremely popular; Go early, especially if on a weekend or a national holiday; 5:00-16:00.

Jan. 27
Kyoto Okazaki Marche: Strictly selected authentic handmade goods will be on sale at Tsutaya bookshop's open space in the Okazaki area; 11:00-17:00.

Jan. 28
Kamigamo Shrine: Handicrafts, arts, food, and more; 9:00-16:00.

Jan. 25
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: Also known as Tenjin-san, a super shrine market sprawling in and around this major shrine complex; 6:00-16:30.

NOTE: Markets shut down much earlier in autumn and winter; When the days get longer and warmer, sellers tend to stay a little longer.