Home > Kyoto Annual Events > Archive - January

January Event Highlights 2017
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Run

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 of rapids with 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; Access: An 8-min. walk from the north exit of JR Sagano Line Kameoka Stn.; Hozugawa Yusen Association: Tel: 0771-22-5846; 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. 5-8
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. 7
Nanakusa Ritual at Gokonomiya Shrine

On this day, from 9:00, people come to the shrine to offer seven kinds of edible grasses (nanakusa) to the deity; After the ritual, rice porridge made with the seven grasses will be offered to visitors.

Admission free; 300 yen for Nanakusa-gayu rice porridge (finished when sold out); Access: Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Momoyama Goryomae Stn.; Tel: 075-611-0559; www.kyoto.zaq.ne.jp/gokounomiya/

Jan. 8-10
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; the Ebisu Festival will be held on the 10th from 15:00; An auspicious bamboo decoration will be presented to visitors.

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

Jan. 15
New Year Japanese Archery Competition at Sanjusangen-do Temple

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 backside 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 will scatter 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. 1
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. 15 & 29
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-15:30; In case of rain, it will be postponed to a different date (see their website; www.plusone.ne.jp/fm/fm_shiyakusho1.html ).

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 things 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; 7:00-17:00.

Jan. 25
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. 22
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.