Home > Kyoto Annual Events - Current Events

August 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 1

Aug. 7-10
Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival

© The Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival

This Pottery festival was started in the early Taisho period (1912-1926) and is now one of the biggest pottery festivals in Japan, with about 400,000 visitors each year; About 400 stalls selling pottery will line both sides of Gojo Street between Higashioji and Gojo bridge.

Admission free; 9:00-22:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #100, #206, #207, get off at Gojozaka or Keihan Railway, Kiyomizu Gojo Stn.; www.toukimaturi.gr.jp

Pick Up Event 2

August 16th
Daimonji Gozan-no Okuribi
Guiding the spirits to the next world

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Gozan-no Okuribi is the most representative of the Obon (an annual Buddhist event for commemorating ancestors) observations in Kyoto and is held on August 16th. Starting at 20:00, huge bonfires, each in the shape of a different character or symbol, are lit on the five mountains surrounding the city: Dai, Myo, Ho, Funa-gata (ship), Torii-gata (shrine gate). The most popular place to view the event is from the west side of the Kamo River (north of Marutamachi). www.kyokanko.or.jp/okuribi

Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi Viewing at Sweet MARRON CAFFE: On August 16th, people who drink or dine at the Sweet Marron Caffe will receive a ticket for a special private Daimonji viewing (Myo and Ho characters not visible) from their rooftop (the party starts at 19:00); The ticket will be distributed from 8:30 on the 16th (first-come, first-served).

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. (except for national holidays and tourist season).

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

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Boat Ride

© 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 with rapids and wonderful mountain views; Boats depart every hour between 9:00-15:30 (the last boat departs at 15:30); *Operated irregularly on Sat., Sun., National holidays.

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 Aug. 15
Tanabata Star Festival Bamboo Decoration & Light-up at Kifune Shrine

The shrine precinct will be elegantly lit up during this time; People pray for their wishes to come true by writing them down on colorful strips of paper to hang on the tanabata bamboo tree.

Admission free; Sunset till 20:00 (until 21:00 on Sat., Sun. and national holidays); Access: Kyoto City Bus #17, get off at Demachiyanagiekimae and take Eizan Railway to Kibune-guchi Stn.; Tel: 075-741-2016; kifunejinja.jp

Until Aug. 31
Miyagawa-cho Beer Garden with Maiko and Geiko

A special summertime beer garden will open at the Miyagawa-cho Kaburenjo Theatre, where people can enjoy beer and dining while watching elegant maiko and geiko dances on stage.

18:00-19:30 (7,000 yen/person for food + all-youcan-drink); 20:00-21:30 (5,000 yen/person for hors d'oeuvre + all you-can-drink); Closed: July 30 & Aug. 15-16; Reservation required by phone; Tel: 075-561-1151 (10:00-16:00; Japanese only; Miyagawa-cho Teahouse Association); Access: Kyoto City Bus #207, get off at Shijo Keihan-mae; www.miyagawacho.jp

Until Sept. 23
Ukai Cormorant Fishing in Arashiyama

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Ukai is a traditional fishing method in which cormorants (large diving birds) are used to catch sweet river fish, or ayu; Tourists can watch the event either from the banks of the river or get a seat on a boat.

Ticket: 1,800 yen (adults), 900 yen (4-12 years old); 19:00-21:00; Boat ride: 19:00 & 20:00; No service on Aug. 16; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 075-861-0302 (Arashiyama Tsusen); http://arashiyama-yakatabune.com/

Aug. 1-18
Special Night-time Opening of Kodai-ji Temple

Kodai-ji Temple was founded by Nene, the wife of Hideyoshi Toyotomi (one of Japan's greatest samurai warlords), to commemorate his spirit; Every summer, the temple holds a special night-time opening as a memorial service for Hideyoshi; Special Tea Ceremony wearing Yukata event will be held on the night of Aug. 4, 5, 6 & 11, 12, 13 & 18 (a formal tea ceremony; 3,000 yen or 2,500 yen for people dressed in yukata; Reservation required by 16:00 of the previous day; reception from 17:00-18:00).

Evening entry: 600 yen (including entry to the Sho Museum); Sunset-21:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; Tel: 075-561-9966; www.kodaiji.com

Aug. 5-11
Kyo-no Tanabata Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Kyoto's popular annual summer event; A wishing festival in tribute to July 7th on the lunar calendar, it will take place at two main venues along the Horikawa River and the Kamo River; Various events will create a fantastic atmosphere during the celebration.

Admission free; Lit-up time: 19:00-21:30; Kamogawa Venue: Keihan Line, get off at Gion Shijo Stn., Horikawa Venue: Subway Tozai Line, get off at Nijojo-mae Stn.; Tel: 075-222-0839; www.kyoto-tanabata.jp

Aug. 5-16
Mitarashi & Tanabata Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

People put their feet in the cool waters of the stream running through the shrine and pray for a healthy life; Also participants are able to walk through ''Stone Room'' which is a sacred place connecting the deities and people on this special occasion.

Entry: 300 yen (with candle; Entry to the Stone Room: 1,000 yen); 10:00-20:00; Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae: Tel: 075-461-0005; kitanotenmangu.or.jp

Aug. 5, 6 & 11-16 & 19, 20
Summer Night Time Special Opening at Toei Kyoto Studio Park

From 16:30, this amusement park's film & TV set will be lit up at night, and many stalls will be lined up especially for families and couples to have great summer fun!; A scary haunted house, ninja training hall and popular amusement attractions are all waiting for you too!

Entry: 1,300 yen (Adults); 900 yen (13-18); 700 yen (3-12); 17:00-21:00; Access: JR Sagano Line, Uzumasa Stn. or Subway Tozai Line, Uzumasa Tenjingawa Stn.; Tel: 0570-06-4349; http://www.toei-eigamura.com/

Aug. 5, 6 & 11-16 & 19, 20, 26, 27
Night Time Special Lit-up Garden at the Garden Museum Hiei

Blooming with 100,000 blossoms every year, the Garden Museum is based on the theme of French impressionism and is beautifully lit-up throughout the summer months; Located at the summit of Mt. Hiei, it offers an incredible view of both Lake Biwa and the City of Kyoto.

Entry: 1,030 yen (adults); 515 yen (6-12); 10:00-20:45 (enter by 20:00); 10:00-17:30 on other days (enter by 17:00); Access: Keihan Bus from Kyoto Stn. to Hiei Sancho Stn.; Tel: 075-707-7733; http://www.garden-museum-hiei.co.jp/

Aug. 6
Summer Purification Ritual at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From around 18:30, local men will compete to get a sacred arrow in the shrine's Mitarashi pond; It is said that the arrow can ward off evil and secure good health in the latter half of the year.

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

Aug. 8-12 & 16
Welcoming and Sending Off the Spirits at Senbon Shaka-do Temple

People welcome the spirit of deceased family members between the 8th and the 12th and send them off to the Buddhist Pure Land again on 16th; From 19:00 on 12th, the Senbon Rokusai Nenbutsu Buddhist stage performance will be held.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kamishichiken; Tel: 075-461-5973; www.daihoonji.com

Aug. 8-31
Rokusai Nenbutsu Buddhist Dances (held at several temples)

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The Rokusai Nenbutsu dance was developed by the Buddhist saint, Kuya in the Heian period (794-1185), to spread the salvation of Buddhism among the people through chanting and dancing; These dances are designated as an important intangible cultural heritage; The dance is performed at many temples during Obon (Festival of the Dead) as a form of prayer for ancestral spirits.

Aug. 9 & 16: Mibu Rokusai Nenbutsu
From 20:00 on the 9th, from 20:30 on the 16th; Mibu Temple; Access: Kyoto City Bus #26, get off at Mibuderamichi; Tel: 075-841-3381.

Aug. 14: Senbon Rokusai Nenbutsu
From 19:00; Senbon Enma-do Temple; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kenryuko-mae; Tel: 075-462-3332.

Aug. 18, 20, 22: Koyamago Rokusai Nenbutsu Buddhist Dances
Koyamago dances are held at 3 temples each day; on the 18th at Kamigoryo Shrine from around 20:30; the 20th at Kofuku-ji Temple from around 19:00; and on the 22nd at Jozen-ji Temple from around 20:00.

Aug. 11-16
Antique Book Fair at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At this popular event, many book dealers from Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Okayama will be selling more than 800,000 books: rare ones, old ones, foreign and more.

Admission free; 10:00-17:30 (until 16:00 on the last day); Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-574-1897.

Aug. 14-16
Kiyomizu Temple Yoi Mairi Night-time Opening

On these nights, the temple holds a special night-time opening where the public can have access to its main statue; Special ceremony will be held from 14th-16th, at 11:00 & 20:00.

Entry: 400 yen; 18:30-21:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-551-1234; kiyomizudera.or.jp

Aug. 16
Arashiyama & Hirosawa Pond Paper Lantern Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 19:00 to 21:00, countless colored paper lanterns, each with a burning candle, will be released on the Oi River from Togetsu-kyo Bridge after a ceremony at Nakanoshima Park; The paper lantern festival will also be held at the Hirosawa Pond (about 15 min. walk from JR Sagano Line, Saga Arashiyama Stn.); Both of these locations are also excellent for viewing the Torii-gata hillside sendoff fire.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 080-5307-1060 (Saga Buddhist Association).

Aug. 23 & 24
Sento Memorial Service at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 17:30 to 20:30, hundreds of lanterns are lit around the roughly 8,000 stone monuments and statues in this temple precinct, which in ancient times was the site of a large graveyard.

Entry: 1,000 yen; Access: Kyoto Bus #72, get off at Toriimoto; Tel: 075-861-2221; www.nenbutsuji.jp

Aug. 27
Saga Emperor Festival at Umenomiya Taisha Shrine

To commemorate the many works that were achieved by Emperor Saga, many traditional events will be held at this shrine; Sumo wrestling by boys from 9:30, minimusic concert performed by local schools (from 16:00) and the festival highlight of the Rokusai Nenbutsu dance (from 19:00) will be performed; Many stalls are lined up in the precincts from the afternoon, creating a festive mood.

Admission free (entry to the shrine: 550 yen); Ceremony starts from 8:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #3, 28, 29, 71, get off at Umenomiya Jingu-mae; Tel: 075-861-2730; www.umenomiya.or.jp

Enjoy the Summer Night Extravaganzas
Amazing Hanabi Firework Displays in Kyoto & Shiga

Summer is the time for Japan's exciting hanabi firework displays. Kyoto and the surrounding areas offer visitors a few outstanding opportunities to experience the magic and the crowds on a summer night. All the events mentioned below are very popular and become extremely crowded, so it is highly recommended to arrive an hour or so before dark. Don't forget; make sure to plan beforehand how to get back safely to where you are staying on that night.

Otsu Big Fireworks Festival © Biwako Visitor's Bureau

Kyo Tamba Fireworks Festival (Aug. 5)

This is the second largest firework festival in Kyoto Prefecture; About 2,000 fireworks will light up the sky in Kyo Tamba-cho; 19:30-20:30 (In case of bad weather, it will be postponed to Aug. 6).

Venue: Near Michino-Eki Tamba Markeds; From Sonobe Stn., take bus to Shin-suchi bus stop; located about an hour north from the central Kyoto by JR train (36-min. by express train from Kyoto to Sonobe Stn.) and JR bus (20-min from Sonobe to Shin-suchi bus stop).

Kameoka Peace Festival Fireworks in Kameoka (Aug. 7)
A grand total of 5,000 fireworks will adorn the night sky during this show, which is known as one of the few displays in Japan to include works that have won first-prize at the National Fireworks Competition; From 20:00 (in case of bad weather, it will be postponed to Aug. 9.

Venue: Right bank of Hozu River, upstream from the Hozu Bridge; A 15-min. walk from the north gate of JR Kameoka Stn. (From Kyoto Stn., take JR Sanin Line to Kameoka Stn.; about 20-min. by express train).

Miyazu Paper Lantern & Firework Festival (Aug. 16)
Miyazu is a port town located on the northern edge of Kyoto prefecture by the Japan Sea. Enjoy the spectacular scene of some 3,000 fireworks against a backdrop of the night sea; 19:30-20:30 (in case of bad weather, it will be cancelled).

Venue: By the Shimazaki Park; about a 10-min. walk to north west from Tango Railway Miyazu Stn. (From Kyoto Stn., take JR Sanin Line to Miyazu Stn.; about 2-hours ride).

Nagahama North Biwa Lake Big Fireworks Festival (Aug. 4)

About 10,000 fireworks will illuminate the night sky at the Nagahama Port, located in the northern part of Shiga prefecture; 19:30-20:30 (TBA; In case of bad weather, it will be cancelled).

Venue: Nagahama Port offshore; Takes about 1.5 hours from Kyoto Stn. by JR train (about 54-min. ride by express from Kyoto to Maibara Stn., then change to local line to Nagahama Stn.; About 10 min. walk to the Nagahama Port from the Stn.).

Otsu Big Fireworks Festival (Aug. 8)
About 10,000 fireworks will illuminate the night sky; This is one of most popular fireworks events in the Kansai region, so it will be very crowded with many people; 19:30-20:30 (In case of bad weather, it will be postponed to Aug. 11).

Venue: Otsu Port offshore; From Tozai Keihan Sanjo Stn., takes about 25-min. to Keihan Otsu Stn. (about 5-min. walk to the Otsu Port).

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Aug. 6
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.

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

Aug. 15
Chion-ji Temple: Kyoto's largest handicraft market; An absolutely amazing range of handmade items at incredible prices; 8:00-16:00.

Aug. 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.

Aug. 25
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: Also known as Tenjin-san, a super shrine market sprawling in and around this major shrine complex; 6:00-16:30.

Aug. 26
Kyoto Okazaki Marche: Strictly selected authentic handmade goods will be sold at the open space of Tsutaya bookshop in the Okazaki area; 11:00-17:00.

Aug. 27
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.