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. 7
Kameoka Peace Festival Fireworks

Watch Giant Blossoms Bloom for Peace, High in the Night Sky

30 minutes west from Kyoto Station by train, the town of Kameoka emerges from mountain ranges and valley gorges. In 1955 this town officially declared itself a ''City of World Peace,'' and their lively Peace Festival is still held each year in commemoration.

The festival's main event is a giant dance gathering on the evening of August 6th, where anyone is welcome to join folk dances like the Tamba Ondo - lively processions rich in local character. At noon the next day (August 7th), a prayer ceremony for ''eternal peace and prosperity'' take place in front of Nishiyama Peace Tower; here, sacred Fire of Peace lanterns are set ablaze using light from the sun, setting the sparks for the evening's fireworks display at Hozu River.

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. Besides these bestin-show, a large number of fireworks will be featured whose set-ups are so intricate, they can only have come from the hands of incredibly talented firework-masters. Meanwhile, about a hundred street stalls will join their eaves and bring a bright festival atmosphere to the riverbank.

Fireworks starts at 20:00; In case of stormy weather, postponed to August 9th: Access: From Kyoto Stn., take the JR Sagano Line to Kameoka Stn.; Take the North Exit and walk north about 15 minutes.

Every Day
Sagano Romantic Train Ride

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).

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 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). *Operated irregularly on Sat., Sun., National holidays.

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

Every Day
Tour around the Sake Brewery Town
Fushimi Jukkoku-bune Boat Ride

Jukkoku-bune is a boat that carried sake, rice and passengers on the Yodo River in the Edo period (1600-1868). The revived boat carries 15 passengers and the tour takes about 55-mins. round trip and runs in the Uji River where willow trees and sake breweries are making a great scenery. These special boats depart from the back of Gekkeikan Okura Memorial Museum to the Fushimi Port Park.

Tickets: 1,200 yen, 600 yen (6-12 years old), 300 yen (5 years and younger); 10:00-16:20; No service on Monday between June and September (available if Monday is a national holiday); Access: Kintetsu Line, Momoyama goryo-mae Stn., or Keihan Line, Chushojima Stn.; Tel: 075-623-1030; kyoto-fushimi-kanko.jp/ship/

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 nat’l holidays); Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Demachiyanagi-ekimae 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.

Entry: 5,000 yen/person with free drinks and side dishes; Cash only; 18:00-19:30 or 20:00-21:30; Closed 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); 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 for a memorial service of 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. 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. 6-12
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.; www.kyoto-tanabata.jp

Aug. 6, 7, 11-16, 20, 21
Summer Night Time Special Opening at Toei Kyoto Studio Park

From 17:00, 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: 1,500 yen (Adults); 1,000 yen (13-18); 800 yen (3-12); 17:00-21:00; Access: JR Sagano Line, Uzumasa Stn. or Subway Tozai Line, Uzumasa Tenjingawa Stn.; Tel: 0570-06-4349; www.toei-eigamura.com

Aug. 7-10
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 Gojo-zaka or Keihan Railway, Kiyomizu Gojo Stn.; www.toukimaturi.gr.jp

Aug. 8, 11-16, 20, 21, 27, 28
Night Time Special Litup 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; www.garden-museum-hiei.co.jp

Aug. 9-16
Kiyomizu Temple Yoi Mairi Night-time Opening

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

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

Aug. 11-16
Antique Book Fair at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In 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: 075-231-2971 (Kichudo)

Aug. 16
Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi Ritual Fires

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

One of the four major traditional seasonal events in Kyoto as a part of Obon, an ancient rite to honor the souls of one's ancestors; Fires are set on five mountains in the city, each depicting a giant Buddhist symbol; www.gozan-okuribi.com

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 seeing 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

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

July 30
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-16:00; In case of rain, it will be held on Aug. 6.

Aug. 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.

Aug. 8, 18, 28
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; 7:00-17:00.

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.

Aug. 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.