Home > Kyoto Annual Events > Archive - January

January Event Highlights 2019
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

Jan. 1-3
Obuku-cha New Year’s Tea Service

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple; 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.

300 yen for Obuku-cha tea; 9:00- 17:00; Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; rokuhara.or.jp

Jan. 2-4
New Year Calligraphy

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine; The deity of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is Michizane Sugawara, 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).

Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; kitanotenmangu.or.jp

Jan. 3
Karuta Hajime

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Yasaka Shrine; 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).

Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 4
Kemari Hajime

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Shimogamo Shrine; 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.

Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamojinja-mae; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 9-10
Ebisu Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In Gion at Yasaka Shrine; 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.

Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

Jan. 11-13
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.

800 yen; 9:30-16:30 (until 16:00 on the last day); Kyoto City Bus #5, #100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heian Jingumae; www.miyakomesse.jp

Jan. 13
New Year Japanese Archery Competition

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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

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

Jan. 14
Seijin-no-hi Coming-of-age Day

At various sites throughout Kyoto; On this day, young men and women who are 20-years old celebrate their coming of age; Young women dressed in gorgeous kimono can be seen all over the city, but Heian Jingu Shrine and Yasaka Shrine in the Gion are the best places to view this colorful event in dramatic Japanese surroundings.

Jan. 15-31
Azuki-gayu Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Torin-in Temple in Myoshin-ji Temple Complex; Kyoto people believe that eating red bean rice porridge (azuki-gayu) at the beginning of the year will prevent illness.

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

Jan. 16
Musha Shinji

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kamigamo Shrine; 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.

Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Jan. 20
Yutate Kagura Ceremony

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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.

From 14:00; A 15-min. walk from Subway Karasuma Line or Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Takeda Stn.; www.jonangu.com

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Jan. 6
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 of local products; 10:00-15:00.

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

Jan. 26
Kyoto Okazaki Marche: Strictly selected authentic handmade goods will be sold at the open space of Tsutaya bookshop in the Okazaki area; 11:00-17:00.

Jan. 27
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: Also known as Tenjin-san, this super shrine market sprawls in and around this major shrine complex; 7:00-16:30.

Jan. 25
Kamigamo Shrine: Handicrafts, arts, food, and more; 9:00-16:00

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