Home > Kyoto Annual Events - Current Events

March 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

Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro 2017
March 3 - 12
18:00-21:30 (rain-or-shine-event)

Hokan-ji Temple (Yasaka Pagoda) © Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

The Higashiyama area in Kyoto is a tourists' bonanza in all seasons. Furthermore, during the nights in March, the region shows you a different facet thanks to the Higashiyama Hanatouro. This event invites you to enjoy a relaxing and romantic stroll.

Approximately 2,500 lanterns decorate the 5-km. walking path that leads to the foothills of Higashiyama Mountain. From the north, a path goes through Shoren-in Temple, Maruyama Park, and then through Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu Temple in the south.

Soft lights reflecting off the stone pavement and shimmering amongst the trees are too beautiful to describe. The abundant ikebana arrangements together with paper lanterns welcome you to an enchanting world.

Higashiyama Hanatouro Highlight Events

Dedication Dance by Maiko © Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

Ikebana Promenade
With the cooperation of the Kyoto Ikebana Association, large flower arrangements are displayed on the streets.

Contemporary Ikebana Exhibits
A grand flower arrangement competition by young ikebana artists is held with the cooperation of the Kyoto Ikebana Association in Maruyama Park.

Bamboo Lanterns - A River of Quiet Beauty
About 500 bamboo lanterns are placed on the Yoshimizu Stream and flow through Maruyama Park to create a magical atmosphere.

Dedication Dance by Maiko
Maiko of the five Kagai, Kyoto's traditional entertainment areas, will dance for the dedication at Yasaka Shrine.

Spring Special Nighttime Opening

Entoku-in Temple © Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

During Higashiyama Hanatouro, some temples and shrines in the area will be opened at night. This is a great opportunity to see stunning gardens and building illuminations.

For further information, contact the Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council: Tel: 075-212-8173; www.hanatouro.jp/e/index.html

*All photos courtesy of Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council

Pick Up Event 2

The Day of Buddha's Nirvana

Nehan-zu painting at Shinnyo-do Temple © Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

February 15th (in the lunar calendar) is the day that Buddha passed away. To commemorate it, temples all around Japan hold the Nehan-e ceremony in March in accordance with today's Gregorian calendar. Many temples in Kyoto publicly display a large and colorful painting, called Nehan-zu, depicting Buddha's passage into Nirvana. If you are in Kyoto this month, then be sure to experience this special Buddhist event.

Mar. 1-31
Shinnyo-do Temple

The Shinnyo-do's Nehan-zu is unique as it includes a cat. It is said that a monk, Enkyu, included it, suggesting the equality of all life as Buddha taught.

Entry: 600 yen; 9:00-15:45; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Kinrinshako-mae or Shinnyodo-mae; Tel: 075-771-0915; shin-nyo-do.jp

Mar. 14-16
Tofuku-ji Temple

Nehan-e at Tofuku-ji Temple © Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This temple's huge Nehan-zu (12 meters high and 6.5 meters wide) was painted by a famous painter in the Muromachi period (1489-1558). During Nehan-e season, the temple's main gate (National Treasure), and Ryugin-an Temple are specially opened to the public. Sweet white saké will be offered free of charge.

Entry: Sanmon gate: 500 yen, Ryugin-an Temple: 500 yen (free of charge to enter the main hall); 9:00-15:30 (until 15:00 on 16th); Access: JR Nara Line, Tofukuji Stn.; Tel: 075-561-0087; www.tofukuji.jp

Mar. 14-16
Sennyu-ji Temple

The Buddha in this magnificent Nehan-zu is nearly 16 meters high and 8 meters wide and the people surrounding him are almost life size. It was painted by the Buddhist monk Meiyo, a specialist in Buddhist ink paintings, in the mid-Edo period (1600-1868), as his final work. The Buddha is shown with a very peaceful expression as if he were only asleep.

Entry: 500 yen; 9:00-16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #208, get off at Sennyuji-michi; Tel: 075-561-1551; www.mitera.org

Mar. 14-April 15
Honpo-ji Temple

Honpo-ji Temple's Nehan-zu was painted by Tohaku Hasegawa (1539-1630), one of Japan's most famous artists. The temple's dry landscape garden, designed by Koetsu Hon'ami (1558-1637), is outstanding.

Entry: 1,000 yen (the temple is closed on some days); 10:00-16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Teranouchi; Tel: 075-441-7997

Until Mar. 22
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; 9:00-16:00; Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Karasuma Line, Takeda Stn. to Jonangu Higashi-guchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

Until April 3
Doll Exhibition at Hokyo-ji Temple

The girl's celebration, the Hina Matsuri Ceremony, will be held from 11:00-11:30 on March 1st (reservation required); During the exhibition period, many kinds of Japanese dolls in the collection from small sized to life-sized dolls will be displayed in a traditional atmosphere.

Entry: 600 yen; 10:00-16:00 (entry until 15:30; from 12:00 on Mar. 1st); Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Teranouchi; Tel: 075-451-1550; www.hokyoji.net

From Mar. 1
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 during 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/index.php

Mar. 3
Nagashi Bina at Shimogamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 10:00, after a special ceremony, people release small hina dolls made of straw in a stream in the shrine precinct to pray for the health of all girls.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae; Tel: 075-761-3460 (Kyoto Doll Association); www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp

Mar. 3
Hina Matsuri Festival at Ichihime Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

A dance performance, juni hitoe (12-layer kimono) dressing demonstration, and tea service will also be featured (13:00-16:00); The most fun part of the festival is that actual people wear the Heian-period costumes representing a Hina Ningyo dolls set (from around 15:00); You can try on these olden day costumes as well.

Ticket 2,000 yen (entry to the shrine, amulet and special tea included); Access: Kyoto City Bus #17, 205, get off at Kawaramachi Shomen; Tel: 075-361-2775; ichihime.net; *Please note that some areas are off-limits in the precinct.

Mar. 3
Shunto-e (Momo-no-Hoe) at Sanjusangendo Temple

The master of the Ikenobo (flower arrangement) School visits the temple and offers flowers to the deity; A special amulet only sold on this day called the ''peach amulet,'' will be available.

Admission free (generally 600 yen); 9:00-15:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #100, 206, 208, get off at Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae; Tel: 075-561-0467; sanjusangendo.jp

Mar. 9
Amagoi Festival at Kifune Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

After offering sacred water and food to the deity (at 10:00), a Shinto priest will purify the shrine grounds with sacred water; The God of Rain is worshiped and people pray for a good autumn harvest.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #17, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae and take the Eizan Railway to Kibune-guchi Stn. (then walk for 30 min. to the shrine); Tel: 075-741-2016; kifunejinja.jp

From Mar. 10
Hozugawa Kudari River Boat Ride

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; 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

Mar. 10
Geino Jotatsu Kigan Festival at Kokuzo Horin-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The special ceremony for this event starts from 13:00; A kyogen theatre performance by the Shigeyama Chuzaburo Family will also be held on this day; The deity of this shrine is the God of Arts and many people visit the temple to pray for the improvement of their art and performance skills.

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

Mar. 14 & 15, April 3
Seiryu-e at Kiyomizu Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The grand parade for this colorful event starts from 14:00; A large blue dragon, the symbol of this temple (and the guardian of the east side of Kyoto), is paraded through the temple area accompanied by many people in traditional clothing.

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

Mar. 15
Saga Dai Nenbutsu Kyogen & Otaimatsu Fire Ritual at Seiryoji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Together with the Nehan-e ceremony, a massive otaimatsu torch lighting ritual will be held from around 20:00 which is said to reproduce the scene of when Buddha passed away; The Saga Shaka Nenbutsu Kyogen play is one of Kyoto's three largest religious performances held 3 times on this day (15:30/17:00/18:30).

Entry: 400 yen (free at night time); Access: Kyoto Bus #71, 72, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; Tel: 075-861-0343

Mar. 17
Kokei-ki at Daisen-in Temple in Daitoku-ji Temple

This ceremony (9:30-15:30) is a memorial event for the monk Kokei who was a close friend of Sen no Rikyu, the founder of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony; A matcha green tea service will also be available on this day.

Entry: 400 yen; (matcha green tea: 1,000 yen); Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Daitokuji-mae; Tel: 075-491-8346; www.b-model.net/daisen-in

Mar. 24-26
Kyoto Antique Fair at Pulse Plaza

This is the largest antique market in western Japan; More than 350 antique dealers will gather from all over Japan offering over 1.5 million Japanese and western antique goods.

Admission free; 10:00-17:00 (until 16:00 on the last day); Access: Take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Takeda Stn. and get off at Pulse Plaza-mae; Tel: 075-522-3843; Free shuttle bus service available from Takeda Stn.

Mar. 25-April 7
Kitano Odori at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre

The Kitano Odori is an annual dance performance by the maiko and geiko of the Kamishichiken district; This annual event officially began jointly in 1952 in commemoration of the 1,050th anniversary of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine.

Tickets: 4,800 yen with matcha green tea, 4,300 yen without tea; From 13:30 & 16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, 101, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; Tel: 075-461-0148; www.maiko3.com

Mar. 25-April 9
Spring Special Opening at Reikan-ji Temple

Reikan-ji Temple is a Buddhist nunnery established in 1654 for the 10th daughter of the retired Emperor Gomizuno-o; Until the Meiji Restoration, the temple served as a monzeki monastery that always had an imperial princess for its abbess; Very popular for its superb camellia flowers including the Nikko Tsubaki which is designated as the city's special natural monument.

Entry: 600 yen; 10:00-16:00; Access; Kyoto City Bus #5, Kinrin-shako-mae or Shinnyodo-mae; Tel: 075-213-1717 (Kyoto City Tourism Association)

Mar. 26
Hanezu Odori Dance and Plum Blossom Viewing at Zuishin-in Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This temple is famous for its plum garden and is open to the public at this time of the year; Children in faint pink traditional costumes sing and dance in this celebrated annual performance of the Hanezu Odori.

Entry: 1,000 yen; Dance from 11:00 (3-4 performances will be held between 11:00 and 16:30); Access: Subway Tozai line, Ono Stn.; Tel: 075-571-0025; www.zuishinin.or.jp

April 1-3, 10:00-17:00
Special Temple Treasure Opening & Spring Event At Chion-ji Temple

Special Temple Treasure Opening
Inside the Shaka-do Hall, Amida-do Hall Many other valuable cultural properties including Buddhist statues and Japanese paintings

Special Events
Tea ceremony by the Urasenke tea master, Randy Channell SOEI Magnificent view of cherry blossoms in the beautiful White Gravel Garden Music concert in the White Gravel Garden (11:00, 13:00, 15:00)

Admission: 1,000 yen (additional 500 yen for Randy Chanel's tea ceremony) Tel: 075-781-9171; hyakusan.jp

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Mar. 5
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.

Mar. 5 & 19
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-15:30; In case of rain, it will be postponed to a different date (see their website: www.plusone.ne.jp/fm/fm_shiyakusho1.html ).

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

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

Mar. 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; 8:00-16:00.

Mar. 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.

Mar. 25
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.

Mar. 26
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.