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September Event Highlights 2019
See, touch and experience the Old Capital - What's on this month!
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

September's Top-picked Events

When the Full Moon Glows Brighte
Jugoya-Autumn Harvest Moon

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Nowhere could be better suited for full moon viewing than amongst the timeless environment of Kyoto. Of all the year's twelve full moons, the September full moon, or harvest moon, is considered to be the most sublime in Japan.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

It is said that the moon viewing custom was introduced to Japan from China during the Nara (710-794) and Heian periods (794-1185). It is celebrated on Jyugo-ya, which means 15th, referring to August 15th of the lunar calendar. Jyugoya on the solar calendar changes every year but is usually around September or October (September 13th in 2019).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Jugo-ya Moon Viewing Events in Kyoto

Sept. 13-15
Daikaku-ji Temple

Emperor Saga (786-862) established his Saga Imperial Villa in the Arashiyama area. He and many others invited court nobles and literati enjoyed boat rides on the pond, especially during the full moon evenings. By the light of the full moon, visitors can board the boats (1,000 yen) and enjoy some time absorbed in the elegant evening; 17:00-20:30; www.daikakuji.or.jp

Sept. 13
Shimogamo Shrine

Traditional dance and gagaku court music, including koto harp, will be performed from 17:30 for about 2 hours. Tea ceremony: 1,000 yen; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

Sept. 13
Kamigamo Shrine

After a special dance performance, special sweet dumplings and sake will be offered to the first 300 people from 18:00; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Sept. 13
Hirano Shrine

Following a sacred ritual at 18:30, traditional song, dance and gagaku imperial music will be performed at around 19:00. Many night stalls selling souvenirs and food are set up in the shrine precinct; www.hiranojinja.com

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; Boats depart every hour between 9:00 and 15:30 (7 services).

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

Every Day
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.; 620 yen (one way); JR Sagano Line Saga Arashiyama Stn.; www.sagano-kanko.co.jp

Every Day
Fushimi Jikkoku-bune Boat Ride

At Fushimi's Uji River; Jikkoku-bune used to carry food stuffs and passengers along the Yodo River in the Edo period; The boat tour takes about 50-min. and goes past willow trees and sake breweries.

No service on Mon.; 1,200 yen; 10:00-16:20; Access: Kintetsu Line, Momoyama Goryo-mae Stn., or Keihan Line, Chushojima Stn.; http://kyoto-fushimi.or.jp/ship/

Until Sept. 5
Beer Garden with Maiko

At Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre; A special summer-time beer garden is opened at the oldest of Kyoto's five Kagai districts; People can enjoy beer and dining while maiko (apprentice geiko) in casual summer kimono come to your table to offer their greetings.

17:30-22:00 (L.O. 21:30); www.maiko3.com

Until Sept. 30
Ukai Traditional Cormorant Fishing

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Such an exotic summer entertainment in Kyoto; The Master trainer of cormorants skillfully manipulates cormorants to catch small trout in the water with only the light of pine torches lit on the boats.

In Arashiyama (until Sept. 23); Randen Arashiyama Stn.; 18:30 & 19:30; Adults: 1,800 yen, children: 900 yen (under 13); arashiyamayakatabune.com ; In Uji; Keihan or JR Uji Stn.; Boat departs at 18:30; Adults: 2,000 yen, children: 1,000 yen (under 13); http://www.kyoto-uji-kankou.or.jp/

Aug. 31 & Sept. 1
Hassaku Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Matsuno-o Taisha Shrine; Local people hold a big ceremony to pray for a good autumn harvest and family safety; On the 31st, a Bon Odori dance will be held from around 19:00; On the 1st, from 8:00, sumo wrestling will be held and at 8:30 women carry a big mikoshi portable shrine; Dynamic Sagano Rokusai Nenbutsu dance will be performed from around 16:00 on the 1st.

Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Matsuno-o Taishamae; www.matsunoo.or.jp

Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28
Sake Tasting Night

At Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei/Honganji; The host, Mr. Davidson, will lead participants into the unknown Sake World and share ideas on how to enjoy tasting sake to its utmost.

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

Sept. 9
Choyo Ceremony and Karasu Sumo Wrestling

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kamigamo Shrine; Traditionally, the number nine is considered to be an auspicious number by the Shinto religion as the number is associated with eternity. Based on that belief, Kamigamo Shrine hosts the Choyo Ceremony, or Chrysanthemum Festival, on the ninth day of the ninth month. Sake with chrysanthemum petals will be offered to visitors from 10:00. Local children compete in the shrine's annual Karasu Sumo wrestling event; A free cup of chrysanthemum sake will be offered to visitors.

Kyoto City Bus #4, 9, get off at Kamigamo-jinja-mae; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Sept. 15
Yoshitsune Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Kurama Temple; From 11:00, a memorial ceremony will be held to commemorate the spirit of Yoshitsune Minamoto, the legendary Heian period samurai who once lived at this temple during his childhood; Japanese martial arts will be performed in front of the main hall.

300 yen; Kyoto City Bus #4 get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae and take Eizan Railway to Kurama Stn.; www.kuramadera.or.jp

Sept. 21-Dec. 8
Temple Treasure Special Opening

At Shogo-in Temple; Gorgeous sliding door paintings by successive Kano School painters from the end of the Muromachi to the Edo period (14th-19th century) and the statue of Fudo Myo-o (Important Cultural Property) will be on display.

800 yen; 10:00-16:00; Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kumano Jinja-mae; www.shogoin.or.jp

Sept. 19
Free Public Opening of the Shin-en Garden

At Heian Jingu Shrine; The large Japanese stroll garden that surrounds the north side of the precinct of Heian Jingu Shrine is divided into four parts; This shrine's large scale garden will be open free of charge on this day.

8:30-16:30; Kyoto City Bus #5, 100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heianjingu-mae; www.heianjingu.or.jp

Sept. 21
Kamigyo Takigi Noh Performance

At Shiramine Jingu Shrine; From 16:00 and 18:00, a range of traditional entertainment (dance, noh, koto harp, etc.) will be performed; In the event of rain, the event will be held at the Kongo Noh Theatre.

2,500 yen; Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Imadegawa; shiraminejingu.or.jp

Sept. 21-23
Hagi Bush Clover Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Nashinoki Shrine; During this festival, people write poems on a piece of paper and tie them to the branches of the shrine's many flowering bush clovers; In the shrine hall, kyogen, dance and koto harp will be performed.

Ticket with tea: 800 yen or 1,500 yen (with a ceramic plate); Kyoto City Bus #17, 205, get off at Furitsu Idai Byoin-mae; nashinoki.jp

Sept. 22 & 23
Seimei Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Seimei Shrine; On the 22nd, people holding lanterns form a procession from 19:00 to welcome the spirit of Seimei Abe after which a kagura dance and music performance will be held; On the 23rd, about 500 people march around the shrine precinct playing traditional music from 13:00.

Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi Seimeijinja-mae; www.seimeijinja.jp

Sept. 23
Nishijin Traditional Cultural Festival

At Senryouga-tsuji; Senryo-ga-tsuji is an area which played an important role in the Nishijin district where a lot of a raw silk and woven fabric wholesalers started and prospered; Many traditional houses along Omiya Street are open to the public and exhibit their cultural heritages.

10:00-17:00; The event will be held along Omiya street, south of Imadegawa; Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi Seimeijinja-mae; www.senryougatsuji.com

Sept. 23
Comb Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine; This festival is dedicated to offering thanks to women's combs and hair ornaments; From 13:00, a ceremony is held and then a beautiful procession of women with their hair done in a wide range of styles spanning more than 1,300 years and wearing clothing from those periods will walk through the surrounding area.

Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; www.yasui-konpiragu.or.jp

Sept. 23
Takase-gawa Boat Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

A ceremony will be held at the starting point of the Takasegawa canal; Maiko from Pontocho will serve green tea.

9:00-15:00; Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae.

Sept. 29
Sencha & Kencha Festival

At Heian Jingu Shrine; From 9:00, the Iemoto masters of the 6 schools of Sencha tea ceremony will perform tea ceremony for the deities of the shrine (the ceremony area is not open to the public); After the ceremony, green tea will be served to the public.

2,000 yen (2 cups of green tea); 9:00-15:00; Kyoto City Bus #5, 100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heianjingu-mae; www.heianjingu.or.jp

Sept. 29
Memorial Ritual for Used Name Seals

At Shimogamo Shrine; Name seals, or hanko, have a significant meaning in Japanese culture. A name seal (generally, family name) works as a proof of everything. October 1st is Hanko Day in Japan and people involved in the name seal industry hold a ceremony to show their gratitude for used name seals. Used name seals are collected and a prayer is offered to the deity. An elegant dance by a lady dressed in an authentic 12-layered kimono will be performed, too.

From 10:00; Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo Jinja-mae; https://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Sept. 1
Kitayama Craft Market at Garden of Fine Art: 10:00-16:00

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

Sept. 7
Handcraft Market at Umekoji Park: 9:00-16:00

Sept. 8, 18, 28
Handcraft Market at Toyokuni Shrine: 10:00-15:00

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

Sept. 15
Handcraft Market at Chion-ji Temple: 8:00-16:00

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

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

Sept. 25
Tenjin-san Flea Market at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: 7:00-16:30

Sept. 28
Kyoto Okazaki Handcraft Marche: 11:00-17:00

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