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 Events

Aug. 16
Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi Ritual Fires

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi is one of the four major traditional seasonal events in Kyoto; Obon is an ancient rite to honor the souls of one's ancestors; The fires are set on five mountains in the city and each represents Buddhist symbol which is used as a way of guiding the spirits of the dead back to the Buddhist Pure Land; Daimonji (on the east; from 20:00), Myo Character & Ho Character (on the north; from 20:05), Funa-gata character (on the northwest; from 20:10), Hidari Daimonji character (on the northwest; from 20:15), Torii-gata character (on the west; from 20:20); http://www.gozan-okuribi.com/

Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi Viewing Small Party at SWEET MARRON CAFFE
If you stop by and drink or dine at the cafe, you will get a ticket to be invited for viewing the Daimonji fires (except Myo and Ho character) from their rooftop from 20:00 (a small party will be held from 19:00 and is free to join for those who have a ticket); the ticket will be distributed from 8:30 on the 16th; finished when all tickets are gone; Cafe: 8:30-19:00; Tel: 075-371-8519; 2F of Kotani Building; A 7-min. walk from Kyoto Stn.

Pick Up Events2

Aug. 1-15
Miyagawa-cho Beer Garden with a Maiko and Geiko

© Miyagawa-cho Kaburenjo Theatre

A summer time special beer garden will open on the south side of the Miyagawa-cho Kaburenjo Theatre, and customers can enjoy drinking beer and eating, while watching elegant maiko and geiko dances on stage.

Entry: 5,000 yen (including free drinks and side dishes; cash only); (1) 18:00-19:30; (2) 20:00-21:30; Reservation required via 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/

Aug. 7-10
Rokudo Mairi at Rokudo Chinno-ji Temple

During these 4 days, people visit the temple and ring the bell to welcome the spirits of deceased family members following the Obon tradition; Many stalls line Matsubara Street (until 22:00) creating a lively atmosphere.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-561-4129; www.rokudou.jp/

Aug. 7-10
Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This Pottery festival was started in the early Taisho period (1912-1926); It is one of the biggest Pottery festivals in Japan; About 400 stalls selling Pottery, line both sides of Gojo Street between Higashioji and Gojo bridge; About 400,000 people come every year; 9:00-22:00.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #100, #206, #207, get off at Gojo-zaka or Keihan Railway, Kiyomizu Gojo Stn.; www.toukimaturi.gr.jp/

Pick Up Events3

White Porcelain Exhibition
by Shun'emon Okugawa

White Porcelain: White bluish vase with Mt. Fuji design

Japan's finest quality of ''White Porcelain'' will be exhibited and sold at 2 venues this summer!

Aug. 1 (Sat.) - 10 (Mon.)
Venue : Pottery Shop Toutensei Kawasaki
Open : 10:30-18:00 (Aug.1st-6th)
9:00-22:00 (Aug. 7th-10th; same period with Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival)
Address : 2F Gallery, 5-463, Gojo-bashi Higashi, Higashiyama-ku
Toutensei Kawasaki is located just a 2-min. walk from the Gojo-zaka bus stop.

Aug. 13 (Thu.) - 18 (Tue.)
Venue : Art Gallery Signas
Open : 10:00-17:00
Address : 23 Susukino Baba-cho, Tenryu-ji, Saga, Ukyo-ku
Art Gallery Signas is located just around the corner where the Bamboo Forest starts.

*Contact for both venues: (090) 8683-3362 (Mr. Goda)

Histories of potter, Shun'emon Okugawa
2002: Certified as a ''Contemporary Master Craftsman'' by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
2005: Awarded the Yellow Ribbon Medal by the Government of Japan
For details: www.aritayaki-tenjikai.com/eng

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 holidays and tourist season).

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

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Run

© 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 of rapids with wonderful mountain views; Boats depart every hour between 9:00-15:30 (the last boat departs at 15:30).

Tickets: 4,100 yen; 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/

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 for the memorial service for Hideyoshi.

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. 7
Summer Purification Ritual at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From around 19:00, local men 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.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0010; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/

Aug. 7-16
Welcoming and Sending Off the Spirits at Senbon Enma-do Temple

People welcome the spirit of deceased family members between the 7th and the 15th and send them off to the Buddhist Pure Land again on 16th; From 19:00 on 14th, the Senbon Rokusai Nenbutsu Buddhist stage performance will be held.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, Kenryuko-mae; Tel: 075-462-3332; yenmado.blogspot.jp/

Aug. 8-10, 16
Manto Lantern Ceremony at Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 20:00, an array of lanterns, forming the kanji character for 'big', are lit to welcome the spirit of deceased family members; A special send-off ceremony is held on 16th from 18:00.

Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-561-6980; www.rokuhara.or.jp/

Aug. 9-16
Rokusai Nenbutsu Buddhist Dances

© 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. The dance is performed at many temples during Obon (Festival of the Dead) as a form of prayer for ancestral spirits.

Aug. 9: Mibu Rokusai Nenbutsu
From 20:00; 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

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Koyamago dances are designated as an important intangible cultural heritage and held at 3 temples each day; on the 18th at Kamigoryo Shrine from around 19:30; the 20th at Kofuku-ji Temple from around 20:00; and on the 22nd at Jozen-ji Temple from around 20:00.

Aug. 11-16
Antique Book Fair at Shimogamo Shrine

In this popular event, many book dealers from Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Okayama will be selling more than 800,000 books (rare, old, foreign); 10:00-18:00 (until 16:00 on the last day).

Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Tadasu-no-mori; Tel: 075-231-2971 (Kichudo).

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

On these nights, the temple holds a special night-time opening; The temple's main statue is open to the public at this time.

Entry: 400 yen; 19:00-21:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-551-1234; kiyomizudera.or.jp/

Aug. 16
Arashiyama Paper Lantern Festival

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; This location is also excellent for seeing the Torii-gata hillside sendoff fire.

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; In ancient times this area 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/

Sat., Sun. until Aug. 23
(*Aug. 11 - Aug. 16: Every day)
Summer Night Time Special Lit-up event at Toei Kyoto Studio Park

From 17:00, this amusement park's film & TV set will be especially lit up at night, and also many stalls will be lined especially for families and couples to have great summer fun! Scary haunted house, Ninja training hall and popular amusement attractions all waiting for you too!

Entry: 1,100 yen (Adult); 700 yen (Jr. & Sr. H.S.); 600 yen (Child); 17:00-21:00; Access: JR Sagano Line, Uzumasa Stn. or Subway Tozai Line, Uzumasa Tenjingawa Stn.; Tel: 0570-064-349; www.toei-eigamura.com

Sat., Sun., & Nat'l Holidays until Aug. 30
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; Located at the summit of Mt. Hiei, it offers an incredible view of both Lake Biwa and the city of Kyoto; During summer months, the garden will be beautifully lit-up.

Entry: 1,030 yen; 10:00-20:45 (enter by 20:00); *The lighting up will be held every day from Aug. 7-16; 10:00-17:30 on weekdays (enter by 17:00); Access: Keihan Bus from Kyoto Stn. or Keihan Sanjo or Demachiyanagi Stn. to Hiei Sancho Stn.; Tel: 075-707-7733; www.garden-museum-hiei.co.jp/

Beautiful garden with many kinds of flowers will be lit up gorgeously during the summer time; © Garden Museum Hiei

A gorgeous night view of the Lake Biwa looking down from the Garden Museum Hiei; © Garden Museum Hiei

Until mid-Sept.
Ukai Cormorant Fishing in Arashiyama and Uji

Ukai is a traditional fishing method in which cormorants (large diving birds) are used to catch sweet river fish or ayu; Carried out on the Oi and Uji Rivers, this event is one of the most popular summer tourist attractions in Arashiyama and Uji; Tourists can watch the event either from the banks of the river or get a seat on a boat which let them watch the performance up close;* They might be cancelled in the case of bad weather.

Ukai in Arashiyama: Adults: 1,800 yen, Children (4-12 years old): 900 yen; 19:00-21:00; Boat ride: 19:00 & 20:00; Sept.1-23: 18:30-20:30 (Boat ride: 18:30 & 19:30); No service on Aug. 16; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 075-861-0302 (Arashiyama Tsusen)

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Ukai in Uji: Adults: 2,000 yen, Children (6-12 years old): 1,000 yen; 19:00-20:00 (Reception from 18:00; Boarding from 18:30); Sept.1-23: 18:30-19:30 (Reception from 17:30; Boarding from 18:00); Boarding area: Nakanoshima Park; Access: Keihan Railway, transfer at Chushojima Stn. to Uji Stn.; Tel: 0774-23-3334 (Uji City Tourist Association)

At the moment, there are 2 women Usho who do the fishing in Uji's Ukai
© Uji City Tourist Association

Until Sept. 23

Japan's most popular circus coming to Kyoto!; A circus show filled with dream, laughter and thrills, including a ''Spectacular White Lion, a World's Savage Beast Show,'' ''Russian Aerial Show'' and many more!!!

Every Sat., Sun., nat'l holidays from 10:20, 13:00, 15:40; Closed Thurs. & 8/12&26; open on 8/13; free seats from 2,800 yen (plus additional fee is required for the reserved seat); a 15-min. walk from the Keihan Yodo Stn. or shuttle bus available from the Yodo Stn.; Tel: 075-632-0009; http://www.kinoshita-circus.co.jp/

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

Aug. 2
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
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.

Aug. 15
Chion-ji Temple: Kyoto's biggest handicraft market; An absolutely amazing range of handmade things and incredible prices too!; 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. 23
Kamigamo Shrine: Handicrafts, arts, food, and more; 9:00-16:00.

Aug. 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.

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