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October Event Highlights 2014

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

October Pick Up Events1

The Jidai Matsuri Festival
Oct. 22

The rich costume pageant portraying Kyoto's history

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).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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.

© Jeremy Hoare

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.

Jidai Festival viewing seat ticket is available at Kyoto Tourist Information Center (KYO Navi). 2,050 yen for a reserved seat at Kyoto Imperial Palace / Oike Street / Heian Jingu-michi. *Ticket is not refundable as the festival is postponed in case of rain.

October Pick Up Events2

Autumn Special Nighttime Opening

Oct. 24 - Dec. 23
Shoren-in Temple

The famous stroll round garden with a pond, and another Garden named Kirishima made by Enshu Kobori will be looming out of the darkness; 18:00-21:30; 800yen; Tel: 075-561-2345; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5 ''Jingumichi''

Oct. 24 - Dec. 14
Kodai-ji Temple

This temple was founded by Nene, wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of Japan's most famous warlords). The temple's large pond garden, tea ceremony rooms are surrounded by a bamboo forest creating an especially elegant atmosphere when lit up at night; sunset- 21:30; 600yen; Tel: 075-561-9966; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206 ''Higashiyamayasui''

Oct. 24 - Dec. 14
Entoku-in Temple

This temple was where Nene lived out the end of her life. One part of the garden is a national scenic beauty spot; sunset-21:30; 500yen; Tel: 075-525-0101; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206 ''Higashiyamayasui''

Until Dec. 29
Sagano Sightseeing Tram Ride

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The Sagano Sightseeing Tram 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 Saga Arashiyama Stn.; Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Tel: 075-861-7444; 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 16km 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).

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. 1-27
Autumn Geiko and Maiko Dance Performances

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

Mizuekai annual performance of Miyagawacho (2013)

Oct. 1-6
Onshukai in Gion Kobu

Reserved seats: 8,000yen, non-reserved seats: 4,000yen; 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: 8,000yen; 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. 9-12
Mizuekai in Miyagawacho

Reserved first seats: 8,000yen, second seats: 4,000yen; From 16:00 on 9-10th; From 13:00 and 16:00 on 11-12th; Access: Keihan Gion Shijo Stn.; Miyagawacho Kabukai: Tel: 075-561-1151; www.miyagawacho.jp/

Oct. 16-19
Suimeikai in Pontocho

Reserved seats: 8,000yen, non-reserved seat: 3,000yen; 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. 4
Nuit Blanche Kyoto 2014

Opening ceremony (projection mapping, live concerts & performances) from 18:30 at the Kyoto International Manga Museum

An evening of contemporary art evoking Paris's original Nuit Blanche 18:00-02:00 at various museums, art spaces and temples in Kyoto 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.

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

Oct. 11-13
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: 800yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #26, get off at Mibudera-michi; Tel: 075-841-3381; www.mibudera.com

Oct. 10-13
Autumn Konpira Festival at Yasui Konpiragu Shrine

The important annual festival ceremonies will be held from 11:00 on the 10th; The enshrined deity will be transferred to the portable shrine from 20:00 on the same day (photo taking is exhibited during the ceremony); On 12th, the special prayer making wish for the world peace, etc. will be held from 11:00; On the 13th, 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. 13
Japanese Traditional Instruments Live in Gion

© Natsu Yasunaga

At Café & Bar LIVE HOUSE SILVERWINGS; Koto (Japanese harp) by Yasunaga Natsu; Shakuhachi (Bamboo flute) by OKADA Michiaki, and acoustic band, etc; 19:30 Start (doors open at 19:00); On the day: 2,600yen (including 1 drink); Tel: 075-204-9966; www.silverwings.limekoubou.com/

Oct. 14
Doll Memorial Service at Hokyo-ji Temple

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. 17-19
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 and 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 markets of old antiques, toys, etc. will be held here.

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

Oct. 17-19
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.

9:30-18:00; 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. 19
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. 19
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: 1,000yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #208, get off at Sennyuji-michi; Tel: 075-561-3443; www.gokurakujyoudo.org

Oct. 19
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.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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. 24-26
Kyoto Antique Fair at Pulse Plaza

About 350 antique dealers from all over Japan sell all kinds of antique goods; This is one of the largest fairs of this kind in Japan with over 1,500,000 items on offer.

10:00-17:00 (until 16:00 on the last day); Access: Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Takeda subway Stn.; Tel: 077-522-2307 (Gomokudo).

Oct. 30-Nov. 5
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. 5
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. 5 & 26
Kyoto City Hall

A big public flea market; 10:00-17:00; In case of rain, it will be postponed to 5th to 13th; 26th to Nov. 3rd.

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; 5:00-16:00.

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.