Home > Kyoto Annual Events > Archive > March

March Event Highlights 2020
See, touch and experience the Old Capital - What's on this month!
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

March's Top-picked Events

Hina Matsuri
The celebration for a girl's healthy growth

The Hina Matsuri festival is a traditional family celebration for their daughter's health displaying hina ningyo dolls. Dolls became very popular in the Heian period (794-1185) among the imperial family and aristocrats and soon came to be the caretakers of a girl's health.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Major Hina Matsuri Ceremonies and Events in Kyoto

Mar.1-April 3
Hokyo-ji Temple

On March 1st, the Hina Matsuri ceremony starts from 11:00 and will include a splendid dance performance by a Shimabara Tayu (the top-ranked geisha in Shimabara); The temple's special doll collection will be on display until April 3rd; 600 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Teranouchi; hokyoji.net

Sanjusangen-do Temple

The Ikenobo School's master of flower arrangement visits the temple and offers flowers to the deity; Women will receive a special peach amulet (for a fee); 9:00-15:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #100, 206, 208, get off at Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae; www.sanjusangendo.jp

Ichihime Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

People dressed up in Heian-period costumes arrange themselves like the dolls on a traditional tiered hina ningyo doll set; A dance performance, juni hitoe dressing demonstration and tea service will also be held (13:00-16:00); 2,000 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #17, 205, get off at Kawaramachi Shomen; ichihime.net

Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 10:00, after a ceremony, people, including women dressed up in traditional Heian-period costumes, release small hina dolls made of straw on a stream in the precinct to pray for the health of their children; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

Every Day
Hozu River Boat Ride

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

On Hozu River; The boat goes from Kameoka to Arashiyama, Kyoto (about 16 km in 2 hours) along a stunning river gorge of rapids with wonderful mountain views; During cold months (until Mar. 9), the boat will be covered by plastic cover and be heated inside; Boats depart at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00. 13:00, 14:00, 15:30 (less services until Mar. 9).

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

Until Mar. 22
Weeping Plum Blossoms and Camellia

At Jonan-gu Shrine; Visitors can enjoy a variety of natural offerings, particularly the weeping plum blossoms of more than 150 varieties in late winter and early spring for which the temple is famous; 300 camellia trees will be in bloom in February and March, too; The gods of the shrine are said to have control over direction-based luck, so those about to move or take a trip might want to stop by and offer a prayer.

600 yen; 9:00-16:30; Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Karasuma Line, Takeda Stn. to Jonangu Higashi-guchi; www.jonangu.com

Until end of March
Plum Garden Opening

At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine; Known as the best plum blossom viewing place in Kyoto, plum blossoms are a prominent decorative motif in the shrine's lanterns, tiles, and woodwork; The plum orchard of nearly 2000 trees to the southwest of the main shrine is open for public viewing -An amazing sensation of sight and smell mixed in with the old Shinto shrine setting.

1,000 yen; 9:00-16:00; Kyoto City Bus #101, 102, 203, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp

Mar. 1-31

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At various Buddhist temples; February 15th (in the lunar calendar) is the day that Buddha passed away. Temples all around Japan hold the Nehan-e ceremony in March. Kyoto is home to many important temples and some display large and colorful painting called Nehanzu in which the scene of Buddha's passage into Nirvana is depicted.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Shinnyo-do Temple (Mar. 1-31)
There are 127 different kinds of creatures, even insects and fish, drawn in the huge Nehan-zu (originally made in 1709; 6m x 4m) which are lamenting the passing of Buddha; no other Nehan-zu in Japan shows so many; 1,000 yen; 9:00-15:45; shin-nyo-do.jp

Sennyu-ji Temple (Mar. 14-16)
Largest Nehan-zu in Japan (16m x 8m) painted in the mid-Edo period (1603-1868); A ceremony will held on the 15th; 500 yen; 9:00-16:00; www.mitera.org

Mar. 1-April 3
Japanese Doll Exhibition

At Hokyo-ji Temple; A girl's celebration, the Hina Matsuri Ceremony, is held from 11:00-11:30 on March 1; An array of Japanese dolls of different kinds and times, from small sized to life-sized dolls, including the ones once possessed by Imperial princesses, will also be on display.

600 yen; 10:00-16:00 (entry until 15:30; Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Teranouchi; www.hokyoji.net

Mar. 6-15
Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro 2020

In Higashiyama district; The event invites you to enjoy a relaxing and romantic stroll; Approx. 2,500 lanterns decorate the 5-km walking path covering some important temples; The abundant ikebana arrangements together with paper lanterns welcome you to an enchanting world.

18:00-21:30 (rain-or-shine event); Visit Higashiyama Hanatouro website for the event highlights: www.hanatouro.jp/e/

Mar. 7-15
Plum Viewing Party

At Shozan Resort Kyoto; Shozan Resort is located in the tranquil Takagamine area in the northern part of the city; Special lunch featuring plum blossom and matcha green tea served by maiko (11:00-14:30).

Lunch: 10:30-14:30, Plum Garden: 10:30-17:00; From 5,500 yen for lunch courses; From Kitaoji Bus Terminal, take the Kita (north) #1 and get off at Kita Konohanacho; www.shozan.co.jp

Mar. 7, 14, 21 & 28
Sake Tasting Night at Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei/ Hongan-G

The host, Mr. Davidson, will lead participants into the unknown Sake World and share ideas on how to enjoy tasting sake to its utmost.

2,000 yen; 18:00-19:00; Reservation required; 7th & 21st at Sakura Hongan-G; 14th & 28th at Sakura Urushitei; Email: sakura@urushitei.jp ; Email: culture@kyotoryokansakura.com

Mar. 9
Amagoi Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kifune Shrine; After offering sacred water and food to the deity at 10:00, a Shinto priest will purify the shrine grounds with sacred water; The God of Rain is worshiped and people pray for a good autumn harvest.

Kyoto City Bus #17, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae and take the Eizan Railway to Kibune-guchi Stn. (then walk for 30 min. to the shrine); kifunejinja.jp

Mar. 10
Geino Jotatsu Kigan Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kokuzo Horin-ji Temple; Special ceremony starts from 13:00; A kyogen theatre performance by the Shigeyama Family will also be held; The deity of this shrine is the God of Arts and many people visit the temple to pray for the improvement of their art and performance skills.

Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; www.kokuzohourinji.com

Mar. 13
Ogoma Memorial Service

At Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei; At Minemichi Square located in the Saito area, a special ceremony to pray for world peace and people's happiness will be held by making a big fire; Sweet sake will be offered free of charge.

10:00-14:00; Take Hiei-zan Drive Bus from Kyoto Stn., Keihan Sanjo or Demachiyanagi, get off at Enryakuji Bus Center; www.hieizan.or.jp

Mar. 13-May 10
Spring Special Opening ''Flower Ceiling''

At Hiraoka Hachiman-gu Shrine; This shrine was built by Kobo Daishi Kukai in 809 as a guardian deity for the Jingo-ji Temple; The ceiling of the main hall is adorned with 44 colorful flower paintings from the Edo period (1603-1868).

800 yen; 10:00-16:00 (enter by 15:30); JR Bus Hiraoka Hachiman.

Mar. 14, 15 & April 3
Seiryu-e Dragon Performance

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kiyomizu Temple; Seiryu-e or the Blue Dragon Festival was created to honor Seiryu, one of four divine god-beasts said to guard Kyoto's borders against encroaching misfortune and disaster; People form a dynamic procession that starts out from the temple and parades around the neighborhood.

From 14:00; 400 yen; Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; www.kiyomizudera.or.jp

Mar. 15
Saga Dai Nenbutsu Kyogen & Otaimatsu

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Fire Ritual At Seiryo-ji Temple; Together with the Nehan-e ceremony (ceremony for the day that Buddha passed away; from 10:00), a massive otaimatsu torch lighting ritual will be held from around 20:00.

400 yen; Kyoto Bus #71, 72, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; seiryoji.or.jp

Mar. 17

At Daisen-in Temple in Daitoku-ji Temple precincts; A memorial event for the Monk Kokei who was a close friend of Rikyu, the founder of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony; A matcha green tea service (9:30-15:30).

400 yen (matcha: 1,000 yen); Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Daitokuji-mae; daisen-in.net

Mar. 20-April 2
Kitano Odori

At Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre; An annual dance performance by the maiko and geiko of the Kamishichiken district. 5,500 yen with matcha green tea, 5,000 yen without tea; From 14:00 & 16:30; Kyoto City Bus #50, 101, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; www.maiko3.com

Mar. 20-April 12
Sakura Festival

At Nijo Castle; Approx. 300 sakura cherry trees of 50 varieties fill the castle site and welcome people almost for a whole month; The castle will be specially opened during the night time and its massive castle structures will be illuminated.

Daytime 8:45-16:00 (1,030 yen), Nighttime 18:00-21:00 (1,400 yen); Kyoto City Bus #9, 50, 101, get off at Nijojo-mae; nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp

Mar. 20-May 25
Spring Special Opening of Temple Treasure House

At To-ji Temple; Famous temple headquarters exhibits its Mikkyo (esoteric Buddhist) mandala art; Temple's treasury hall will be open to the public; From mid-Mar. to mid-April, special night-time light-up will be held (18:30-21:30) at the time of cherry blossoms.

500 yen (Treasury Hall); 9:00-17:00 (enter by 16:30); Kintetsu Kyoto Line ''To-ji'' or Kyoto City Bus #16, 17, 42, 78, get off at Toji Nanmon-mae; www.toji.or.jp

Mar. 27-29
Kyoto Antique Fair

At Pulse Plaza; The largest antique market in western Japan; More than 350 antique dealers will gather from all over Japan offering over 1.5 million Japanese and western antique goods.

10:00-17:00 (until 16:00 on the last day); Take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Takeda Stn. and get off at Pulse Plaza-mae; Free shuttle bus service from Takeda Stn.

Mar. 29
Hanezu Odori Dance and Plum Blossom Viewing

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Zuishin-in Temple; This temple is famous for its plum garden; Children in faint pink traditional costumes sing and dance in this celebrated annual performance of the Hanezu Odori.

1,000 yen; Dance from 11:00 (3-4 performances between 11:00 and 16:30); Subway Tozai line, Ono Stn.; www.zuishinin.or.jp

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Mar. 1
Flea Market at To-ji Temple: 7:00-16:00

Mar. 7
Handicraft Market at Umekoji Park: 9:00-16:00

Mar. 8, 18, 28
Handicraft Market at Toyokuni Shrine: 10:00-15:00

Mar. 14
Heian Rakuichi Market at Okazaki Park: 10:00-16:00

Mar. 15
Handicraft Market at Chion-ji Temple: 8:00-16:00

Mar. 21
Kobo-san Flea Market at To-ji Temple: 8:00-16:00

Mar. 22
Kamigamo Handcraft Market at Kamigamo Shrine: 9:00-16:00

Mar. 25
Tenjin-san Flea Market at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: 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.