Home > Kyoto Annual Events > Archive > October

October Event Highlights 2015

See, touch and experience the Old Capital What's on this month!
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

Pick Up Event

Oct. 22
The Jidai Matsuri Festival

The rich costume pageant portraying Kyoto's history

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In 1895, Kyoto city held its first Jidai Matsuri Festival: a colorful, exotic costume parade dedicated to the Old Capital's 1100 year history. The first festival also marked the opening of Heian Shrine, a 2/3 scale model of Kyoto's original imperial palace. The shrine was specially built to enshrine the spirit of Emperor Kammu (reigning 781-806), who founded Kyoto in 794, and the city's last reigning emperor and Emperor Komei (reigning 1847-1866).

Today, after nearly 120 years, the Jidai Matsuri Festival continues to be a major focus of pride for the city of Kyoto. For most visitors, the festival's biggest attraction lies in the fantastic range of authentic historical costumes, covering twelve centuries of Kyoto's history and social development, worn by the participants.

The festival begins at seven in the morning on the 22nd with the transferal, on sacred palanquins, a covered seat carried on poles on the shoulders of two or four people, of the imperial spirits from Heian Shrine to the Old Imperial Palace. At around 12:00, the southern central axis of the Old Imperial Palace becomes a massive stage of the ages. The procession departs from here and slowly makes its way through the streets of Kyoto to Heian Shrine.

The Jidai Matsuri Festival parade viewing seat tickets: 2,050 yen (reserved seating with a pamphlet; not refundable)
Venue: Kyoto Imperial Palace / Oike Street / Heian Jingu-michi
Ticket available at: Kyoto Tourist Information Center (KYO Navi)
Kansai Tourist Information Center Kyoto by JTB (10:00-18:00); www.tic-kansai.jp/kyoto/
Kyoto Tourist Information Center by H.I.S. (9:00-18:00 daily); his-kyoto.com/
Osaka Tourist Information Center by H.I.S. (9:00-21:00 daily); his-osaka.com/
*Also able to be purchased from the following site (only Oike Street venue): www.kyoto-ticket.com/

Until Dec. 29
Sagano Romantic Train Ride

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The Sagano Romantic Train route (7.3 km) runs from Saga to Kameoka along a gorgeous river gorge and passes through 8 old tunnels; No service on Wed. (except for holidays and tourist season).

Entry: 620 yen (one way); Access: JR Sagano Line, Saga Arashiyama Stn.; Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Tel: 075-861-7444; http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Run

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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 9:00-15:30 (the last boat departs at 15:30). * For having a safety-check, the river ride won’t be available on Sept. 9.

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/

Oct. 1-5
Zuiki Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This festival is held to celebrate the autumn harvest; Two mikoshi portable shrines, decorated with zuiki (taro stems), will be displayed and paraded around the area.

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

Oct. 1-18
Autumn Geiko and Maiko Dance Performances

Every autumn, geiko and maiko in each of their major districts, kagai, perform their elegant dances.

Oct. 1-6
Onshukai in Gion Kobu

Reserved seats: 8,500 yen, non-reserved seats: 4,000 yen; From 16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Gion Kobu Kabukai: Tel: 075-561-1115; www.miyako-odori.jp

Oct. 8-12
Kotobukikai in Kamishichiken

Reserved seats: 8,000 yen; From 16:00; From 13:00 & 16:00 only on 11th; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kamishichiken; Kamishichiken Kabukai: Tel: 075-461-0148; www.maiko3.com

Oct. 8-11
Mizuekai in Miyagawacho

Mizuekai annual performance dance of Miyagawacho (2014)

Reserved first seats: 8,000 yen, second seats: 4,000 yen; From 16:00 on 8-9th; From 13:00 & 16:00 on 10-11th; Access: Keihan Gion Shijo Stn.; Miyagawacho Kabukai: Tel: 075-561-1151; www.miyagawacho.jp/

Oct. 15-18
Suimeikai in Pontocho

Reserved seats: 8,000 yen, 7,000 yen, nonreserved seat: 3,000 yen; From 16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Kawaramachi Sanjo; Pontocho Kabukai: Tel: 075-221-2025; www1.odn.ne.jp/~adw58490/

Oct. 3
An evening of contemporary art evoking Paris's original Nuit Blanche Nuit Blanche Kyoto 2015

The theme for the annual event this year is contemporary art and fashion. At 38 sites all over Kyoto city from 6 pm until 5 am (depends on the venue) - Kyoto International Manga Museum, Institut francais du Japon - Kansai and Kyoto Art Center and at many other places...everyone can enjoy variety of art forms, including great performances, live shows, exhibitions and more...with the aroma of Paris. Admission Free; Please see their website for details: www.nuitblanche.jp/

Oct. 9
Autumn Harvest Festival at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

During this autumn festival, held from 13:30, people pray for a good harvest and good luck in business; Traditional entertainment and music will also be performed.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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

Oct. 10-12
Mibu Kyogen at Mibu Temple

Mibu Kyogen is an ancient form of silent theatre in which performers wearing special masks dance to the music of bells, drums and flutes; Five different plays will be performed each day between 13:00 and 17:30.

Entry: 800 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #26, get off at Mibudera-michi; Tel: 075-841-3381; www.mibudera.com

Oct. 9-12
Autumn Konpira Festival at Yasui Konpiragu Shrine

The important annual festival ceremonies will be held from 9th; The enshrined deity will be transferred to the portable shrine from 20:00 on the same day (photo taking is prohibited during the ceremony); On 11th, the special prayer making wish for the world peace, etc. will be held from 11:00; On the 12th, from 9:00 the latter festival will be held to closing this year's festival.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; Tel: 075-561-5127; www.yasui-konpiragu.or.jp

Oct. 14
Doll Memorial Service at Hokyo-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This temple possesses dolls belonged to successive imperial princesses; Today, the general public also bring their Japanese dolls (traditionally used as a form of protection for girls) to this memorial service; The reception starts at 10:00 and the ceremony starts from 10:30; A dance performance by a geisha from the Shimabara district will also be featured.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Teranouchi; Tel: 075-451-1550; www.hokyoji.net/

Oct. 16-18
Performing Art and Small Market at Hannya-rin near Shokokuji Temple

© Osada-jyuku

This is an open air performance which audiences can join together to restage the living and performing arts of Gei-akindo (a businessman also a performer) from the Edo period. (You are able to slip back in time to Kyoto during the Edo period. Street performances, and also small market of old antiques, toys, etc. will be held in the place.

Ticket: 2,000 yen (adult); 1,000 yen (children); Hannya-rin, in front of the north gate of Shokokuji Temple; Access: Kyoto Subway Kuramaguchi Stn.; Tel:075-211-0138 (Osadajyuku); www.osada-jyuku.com/

Oct. 16-18
Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi Pottery Festival in Yamashina

Colorful Kiyomizu-yaki ceramics are one of Kyoto's most popular craft forms; On these three days, many stalls near the major kilns in Yamashina will be selling all kinds of ceramic work at very reasonable prices; Hands-on pottery experience, live music performances and other events will also be staged.

9:30-17:00; A special shuttle bus service between Kyoto Stn. and the event venue will run all three days (departing every 15 min.); Tel: 075-581-6188; www.kiyomizuyaki.or.jp/

Oct. 18
Kasagake Ritual at Kamigamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Kasagake, dating back about 800 years, is Japan's oldest horseback archery ritual (during which arrows are shot from a galloping horse); This interesting & dynamic event begins at 13:00.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Kamigamojinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Oct. 18
Twenty-five Bosatsu Procession at Sokujoin Temple in Sennyu-ji Temple

On this day, from 13:00, 25 children wearing gorgeous masks and Buddhist costumes will walk through the precinct with about 200 other participants.

Entry: 1,000 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #208, get off at Sennyuji-michi; Tel: 075-561-3443; www.gokurakujyoudo.org

Oct. 18
Saigu Procession at Nonomiya Shrine and Togetsu-kyo Bridge

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In ancient times, the imperial family sent their princesses to Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture to serve as shrine maidens; Based on this history, a gorgeous Heian period procession passes through the Arashiyama area; The procession departs from Nonomiya Shrine at noon and goes over the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, and finally arrives at Arashiyama Port (at 13:30); After the procession, a purification ritual is held from 14:00.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Nonomiya; Tel: 075-871-1972; www.nonomiya.com/

Oct. 22
Kurama Fire Festival in Kurama

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The festival begins at sunset with the lighting of fire lanterns in front of each house; The highlight of the festival is watching the men in traditional clothing as they walk up through the village straining under the weight of huge fire torches (5-6 meters long, weighing over 100 kg); Around 20:00, a group of cheering men race up the stairs to Yuki Shrine carrying a large mikoshi (portable shrine) to make the annual offering to the gods.

Access: Eizan Railways Kurama Stn. (from Demachiyanagi Stn.; *The train after 17:00 or so, expect to wait in line and be packed in; It's best to go early and leave early.

Oct. 23-26
Kyoto MINAMIZA Theater: JAPAN THEATER played by Ichikawa Ebizo

Various programs including a traditional dances, Noh play and a Kabuki dance performance by Ichikawa Ebizo and other great performers; 11,000 yen (special class); 9,000 yen (first class); 5,000 yen (second class); 3,000 yen (third class); Ticket Purchase: http://www1.ticket-web-shochiku.com/pc/; For details, please refer: www.japantheater.jp

Oct. 30-Nov. 3
Special Autumn Opening of the Kyoto Imperial Palace

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

People can enter the Imperial Palace without pre-applying during this period; No registration is required during this special period (admission free).

9:00-15:30; Access: Karasuma subway line, Imadegawa Stn. or Marutamachi Stn.; Imperial Household Agency: Tel: 075-211-1211; www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-event/kyotogosho.html

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

Oct. 4
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.

Oct. 4
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-16:00; In case of rain, it will be postponed to 4th to 12th.

Oct. 8
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.

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

Oct. 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.

Oct. 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.

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