- June Event Highlights
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.
Get rid of misfortune and pray for your health
Nagoshi no Harae Summer Purification
Every year, at the end of June, many shrines hold an ancient Japanese purification rite called Nagoshi no Harae. In this ceremony, people atone for their sins in the first half of the year and then pray for their health for the remainder of the year by walking through a tall chinowa wreath (a large sacred ring, made of loosely twisted miscanthus reeds called chigaya).
At some shrines, people receive a white piece of paper shaped like a person as a form of purification that they can take with them. Some people pull out pieces of the chinowa and weave them into a small wreath which they take home and put above their door.
*Recommended Shrines for Nagoshi no Harae
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
A giant chinowa wreath (5 meters tall; the largest chinowa wreath in Kyoto) is set up at the shrine gate. The ceremony is held from 16:00 on the 30th. Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; Tel: 075-461-0005.
The ceremony starts from 15:00 on the 30th. Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae, and take the Eizan Railway to Kibune-guchi Stn.; Tel: 075-741-2016.
A chinowa kuguri wreath will be set up and people can go through it praying for good health and fortune. The ceremony starts from 10:00. From 20:00, people throw paper dolls into the sacred pond to get rid of their misfortunes; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi; Tel: 075-781-0011.
The ceremony starts from 16:00. A chinowa kuguri wreath will be set up and people can go through it praying for good health and fortune. Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae; Tel: 075-761-0021.
The ceremony starts from 15:00. A chinowa kuguri wreath will be set up on the shrine's black wooden torii gate (very rate type). Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Nonomiya; Tel: 075-871-1972.
Until Dec. 29
Sagano Sightseeing Tram Ride
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); 600 yen (one way); Access: JR Saga Arashiyama Stn.; Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Tel: 075-861-7444; www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/
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; Tickets: 3,900 yen; Boats depart every hour between 9:00-14:00 (the last boat departs at 15:30); 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/
Early June to early July
Hydrangea Festival at Fujinomori Shrine
The whole precinct of the shrine will be filled with colorful hydrangea flowers; Special ceremony will be held from 10:00 on the 15th (traditional dance and music performances & kemari ancient ball game); 300 yen; Access: A 5-min. walk from JR Fujinomori Stn. or Keihan Sumizome Stn.; Tel: 075-641-1045; www.fujinomorijinjya.or.jp/
Party for the release of fireflies at Daikaku-ji Temple
On this day, this temple precinct is especially open at night and a number of fireflies will be released in the temple garden; 900 yen; 19:00-21:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Daikakuji; Tel: 075-871-0071; www.daikakuji.or.jp/
Kifune Festival at Kifune Shrine
Kifune Shrine, headquarters to about 500 Kifune Shrines located throughout Japan, is the home to the all-important God of Water; From 11:00, a mikoshi portable shrine procession, accompanied by people playing traditional music, will proceed through the neighborhood; A kagura dance performance by young shrine maidens will also be performed at the shrine; Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae and take Eizan Railway to Kibune-guchi Stn.; Tel: 075-741-2016; kifunejinja.jp
June 1 & 2
Takigi Noh Night-time Performance at Heian Shrine
Kyoto's Takigi Noh theatre performances are one of the city's most popular events; On both days, three major Noh schools (Kanze, Kongo, Okura) will perform these slow-moving, mysterious plays on a special fire-lit, outdoor stage set up in Heian Shrine; Tickets: 4,000 yen; From 17:30 (the doors open from 16:30); The event will be postponed in the case of rain; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae; Tel: 075-771-6114 (Kyoto Noh Office).
Free Public Opening of the Shin-en Garden at Heian Shrine
The large Japanese stroll garden that surrounds the north side of the precinct of Heian Shrine is divided into four parts; The irises in the west and central parts are very beautiful and bloom in June; Entry to the garden is free on this day (usually 600 yen); Open: 8:30-16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae; Tel: 075-761-0221; www.heianjingu.or.jp/
Taue Rice Planting Festival at Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine
This ritual is held to ensure a good rice harvest; Women dressed in traditional Heian period costumes perform an elegant dance from 13:00; From 14:00, about 30 women dressed in traditional farm worker clothing plant rice seedlings in the shrine's sacred rice field; Access: JR Nara line, Inari Stn. or Keihan Fushimi Inari Stn.; Tel: 075-641-7331; inari.jp/
Arashiyama Waka-ayu Festival
On this day ayu sweet fish are released in the Hozu River; 11:30-13:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen or Hankyu Arashiyama Stn.; Arashiyama Hoshokai: Tel: 075-861-0012.
Yasaka Shrine Reisai Festival
This annual ceremony and dance performance, based on a dance style that was developed by the Heian imperial court, is highly recommended; From 10:00, a poetry reading contest will also be organized in the main hall (from 15:00); Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-561-6155; web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/org/yasaka/
Aoba Festival at Chishaku-in Temple
This memorial ceremony is dedicated to the Buddhist saint Kobo Daishi and features sutra chanting (from 10:00); On this day, the garden, designed in the Momoyama period (17th century), and the temple wall paintings will be open to the public (admission free; 9:00-16:00); Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Shichijo; Tel: 075-541-5361; www.chisan.or.jp/sohonzan/
June 15-June 30
Sal Tree Viewing Party at Torin-in Temple in Myoshin-ji Temple
Torin-in Temple, one of the sub-temples in the Myoshin-ji Temple complex, has many sal trees in its front garden; It is said that Buddha was born beneath a sal tree; June 15 (from 9:30): Sal flower ceremony and Japanese incense experience: 1,580 yen (with matcha green tea); Access: JR Sagano line, Hanazono Stn.; Tel: 075-463-1334; www.myoshinji.or.jp/
June 16-July 15
Hydrangea Festival at Sanzen-in Temple
This hydrangea festival is held in celebration of the 3,000 hydrangea bushes that bloom in this temple's famous garden in June and July; 700 yen; 8:30-17:00; Access: Kyoto Bus #17, 18, get off at Ohara; Tel: 075-744-2531; www.sanzenin.or.jp/
Takekiri-e Bamboo Cutting Ritual at Kurama Temple
From 14:00, two 2-monk teams compete in the ceremonial ritual of cutting a long piece of bamboo (4 m long and 10 cm thick); The ritual is based on an ancient legend in which a monk of the temple got rid of a giant snake; 200 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae, and take Eizan train to Kurama Stn.; Tel: 075-741-2003.
Kyoto Antique Fair
About 350 antique dealers, including many foreign dealers, will participate in this exciting event, which is the largest antique market in western Japan; More than 1.5 million items will be on offer; 10:00-17:00; Access: Take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Takeda subway station, get off at Pulse Plaza-mae; Tel: 075-522-2307 (Gomokudo).
June 22-July 15
Bellflower Viewing Party at Tentoku-in Temple in Tofuku-ji Temple
Tentoku-in Temple is famous for its exquisite bellflower; The contrast between the purple and white bellflower and the temple's simple dry landscape garden creates a beautiful scene; Special Zen lunch (reservations required: 11:00-14:00; 3,000 yen); The temple will also be open at night until 20:30; 800 yen (with matcha green tea & sweet); Access: Kyoto City Bus #208, get off at Tofukuji; Tel: 075-561-5239; www.tentokuin.jp
June 22 & 23
Kyoto Five Kagai Joint Performance at Kyoto Shijo Minamiza
Kyoto's five Kagai (maiko and geiko districts) are: Gion Kobu, Miyagawacho, Gion Higashi, Kamishichiken and Pontocho; This is an only chance to see all the maiko and geiko from all five Kagai perform together; Special seats: 13,000 yen, First seats: 10,000 yen, Second seats: 8,000 yen, Third seats: 6,000 yen; From 11:00 and 14:30; Access: Keihan Gion Shijo Stn.; Tel: 075-561-3901.
June 25- 30
Machiya Visit at Tondaya
Tondaya is an exquisite cultural facility where people can learn about and enjoy Kyoto's traditional lifestyle forms; 11:00-13:00; 8,400 yen (lecture and machiya visit + special meal + tea ceremony), 3,150 yen (lecture and machiya visit + tea ceremony) and other plans are available; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi; Tel: 075-432-6701; www.tondaya.co.jp/
Temple & Shrine Flea Markets
June 2, Sun.
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.
June 8, Sat.
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.
June 12, Wed.
Bishamon-do in Kennin-ji Temple: Known as Tora-ichi, this market specializes in handicrafts & arts; 10:00-16:00.
June 15, Sat.
Chion-ji Temple: Kyoto's biggest handicraft market; An absolutely amazing range of handmade things and incredible prices too!; 8:00-16:00.
June 16, Sun.
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-17:00.
June 21, Fri.
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.
June 25, Tues.
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.
June 23, Sun.
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.