Home > Kyoto Annual Events - Current Events

February Event Highlights
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

Getting rid of misfortune & welcoming spring

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

February 3rd, which is one day before Risshun (the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar), is called Setsubun in Japan. It's not a national holiday, but is widely celebrated throughout the country. Mame maki (bean throwing) ceremonies are performed on the day. Traditionally, people throw roasted soy beans throughout their home, shouting ''oni wa soto'' (demons out) and ''fuku wa uchi'' (fortune in). These beans are called fuku mame (fortune beans). It is believed that people will be healthy and happy if they eat the number of fuku mame equal to their age. Eating fortune sushi rolls is another Japanese custom on Setsubun. You should face south-southeast this year while you silently eat your sushi roll. Bean throwing ceremonies are held at many temples and shrines around the country. People visit there to get beans and thus obtain good fortune. Visit shrines and temples near you in Kyoto on Setsubun!

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Feb. 2 & 3
Yasaka Shrine

The ceremony starts from 13:00; Auspicious soy bean scattering, ama-sake (Japanese sweet sake) service and amulet offering; On these two days beautiful maiko from all four of Kyoto's flower towns will visit this shrine and scatter beans (dance from 13:00).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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

Feb. 2 & 3
Suga Shrine

From 15:00 on the 2nd, the bean scattering ceremony will be held; A unique charm looks like paper folding which used to be a love letter in old times will be distributed by men wearing ancient Heianera costume (1,000 yen).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kumano Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-771-1178

Feb. 2-4
Yoshida Shrine

This is the largest Setsubun festival in the city; Attending is believed to help in warding off misfortune; During the event people come to burn old amulets, papers and other personal possessions in a huge bonfire; A number of food stalls lined up along the approach to the shrine and are open until very late; The Setsubun ritual is from 18:00 on the 2nd; On the 3rd, the Karo-sai festival will be held from around 23:00 and its grounds will be packed with many people!

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kyodai Seimon-mae; Tel: 075-771-3788; www.yoshidajinja.com

Feb. 3
Rozan-ji Temple

The temple's Setsubun ritual is known as Oni Odori (demon dance). The oni demon dance: from 15:00, and bean scattering from 16:00, old amulet burning from 17:00.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Furitsu Idai Byoin-mae; Tel: 075-231-0355

Feb. 3
Heian Jingu Shrine

Kyogen performance: 11:30-14:00; Setsubun Festival: from 13:00; Auspicious bean scattering from 15:00; Setsubun bon fire: from 16:00; Free ama-sake (Japanese sweet sake) service (all day).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Okazaki Koen/Bijutsukan, Heian Jingumae; Tel: 075-761-0221; www.heianjingu.or.jp

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 at 10:00, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30; No operation on Feb. 18 due to the maintenance work.

Tickets: 4,100 yen; 2,700 yen (4-12 years old); 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

Until Mar. 6 (Fri., Sat., Sun. only)
Kodai-ji Temple Night Time Tea Ceremony Tour

Kodai-ji Temple was founded by Nene, the wife of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, to commemorate his death; Visitors can enjoy a fine bowl of green tea overlooking an excellent Japanese garden; The tour includes tea ceremony, entry to the garden, a Japanese dinner (the tour lasts about 3 hours); Reservation required.

Tickets: 6,000 yen; Reception: 17:00-18:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; Tel: 075-752-7070 (Kyoto City Tourist Association); www.kodaiji.com

Until Mar. 6
Kyoto Ikebana Flower Arrangement Exhibition

In the JR Kyoto Station Shinkansen concourse; Kyoto is the birth place of ikebana flower arrangement; Masters from various ikebana schools will display their exquisite ikebana works as a special way of welcoming visitors (may not be open on Mon. & Thu. due to display replacement).

For those who are not arriving/departing Kyoto Station via Shinkansen bullet train, are required to buy a platform ticket (140 yen) to enter the concourse; Access: JR Kyoto Stn.; Tel: Kyoto City Tourism Association: Tel: 075-752-7070

Feb. 6
Hatsu Uma Festival at Fushimi Inari Shrine

This grand festival is held from 8:00; The festival is based on the legend that the shrine deity, Inari (protector of grains, especially rice, and thus wealth/business in general), descended from heaven to the top of Mt. Inari; On this day, people pray for good business and a healthy family life.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: JR Nara Line, Inari Stn. or Keihan Railways Main Line, Fushimi Inari Stn.; Tel: 075-641-7331; inari.jp

Feb. 8
Hari Kuyo Services for Pins & Needles at Kokuzo Horin-ji Temple

This temple enshrines the deity of needle work and entertainment; On this day, professional seamstresses and housewives stick their used needles in a slab of rubbery jelly; Prayers are said at 13:00; Ama-sake (Japanese sweet sake) will be offered.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 075-862-0013; www.kokuzohourinji.com

Feb. 11
Kigen-sai Festival at Kamigamo Shrine

In the old days, the day was called Kigen-setsu and it was the first regnal year of the emperor Kanmu; This festival is to commemorate the coronation and children's karate performance (from around 10:15) and an ancient style soccer game (from around 11:00) will be held in the precinct.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus #46, get off at Kamigamo jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Feb. 11
Hoshi Matsuri Fire Ceremony

This festival is held every year on Feb. 11th at Agon Shu's main temple grounds in Yamashina; The all-day ceremonies pray for world peace and for the peace of both the living and deceased.

8:30-16:00; Access: Take bus at Kyoto Station, Hachijo-guchi exit, every 15 min., direct to site (about 20 min; 300 yen); Tel: 075-761-1141; www.agon.org

Feb. 18-Mar. 21
Weeping Plum Blossoms and Camellia Festival at Jonan-gu Shrine

In the shrine's vast Rakusui-en garden, more than 150 weeping plum trees create a beautiful contrast of red and white; Also 300 camellia trees will be in bloom in Feb. and Mar.

Entry: 600 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Karasuma Line, Takeda Stn. to Jonangu Higashi-guchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

Feb. 23
Godai Rikison Ninno-e at Daigo-ji Temple

In this amazing competition people compete to lift enormous mochi rice cakes; men 150 kg, and women 90 kg!

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: A 10-15-min walk from Daigo Stn. on the Subway Tozai Line; Tel: 075-571-0002; www.daigoji.or.jp

Feb. 23
Godai Rikison at Juntei-do Hall, Sekizen-in Temple

Just one day every year, Five Forceful Bodhisattvas are put out in public; The worships are held by yamabushi at 10:30 and 13:00; Free soup made from a sake lees base will be served.

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Access: Kyoto City Bus # 206, get off at Kumano Jinja Mae; 075-761-0541

Feb. 24
Nento-sai Festival at Kamigamo Shrine

This festival is based on the recreation of an ancient ceremony that Heian-period aristocrats held to welcome spring; The ceremony starts from 14:00.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #46, get off at Kamigamo Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Feb. 25
Baika-sai Plum Blossom Viewing Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

This huge outdoor tea ceremony (from 10:00-15:00), performed by the geiko and maiko, is very popular; Whipped matcha green tea and a sweet for 1,500 yen; Here, also the beautiful plum garden will be specially open to the public from early Feb. to end of March (700 yen with tea and sweet).

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

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

Mar. 5
Fushimi Sake Brewery Opening

Every year, Fushimi's sake breweries open to the public when the first sake of the year is ready; People can buy as well as taste fresh sake at several breweries; Kyoto vegetables, sake, pickles, dried seafood, flowers and other fresh products will be on sale.

Sake tasting: 200 yen (includes small sake cup and three tickets); 11:00-15:00; Access: Kintetsu Railways Kyoto Line, Momoyama Goryomae Stn.; Tel: 075-612-6006 (Fushimi Meishu Association).

Attention!! Expect major traffic congestion on the Kyoto Marathon on Feb. 21 Due to the Kyoto Marathon 2016, major traffic restrictions, lasting part of the day, will be in place all over the city on Feb. 21st. Many large streets will be closed off during key stages of the race and this will severely affect travel in the city. Big detour may be necessary to reach popular tourist areas. Many key bus lines will either shut down or use alternate routes. If you are in the city that day, be sure to plan wisely!

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

Feb. 7
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.

Feb. 7
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-17:00; In case of rain, it will be postponed to Feb. 14.

Feb. 8, 18, 28
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.

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

Feb. 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.

Feb. 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.

Feb. 28
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.