Home > Kyoto This Month > October Event Highlights

November Event Highlights
See, touch and experience the Old Capital - What's on this month!
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

November's Top-picked Events 1

Special Autumn Night Time Light-up Locations


Until Dec. 9
Kodai-ji Temple

Built by the wife of the legendary warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1606, the temple's stunning garden, full of maple trees, will be lit up in the evenings.; 600 yen (including entry to the Sho Museum); 17:00-21:30; Kyoto City Bus #206, Higashiyama-yasui; www.kodaiji.com

Oct. 26-Dec. 2
Shoren-in Temple

This is one of Kyoto's five temples with an especially strong connection to the imperial family; The serene gardens of the temple are a delightful place to enjoy the autumn colors by day and by night; 800 yen; 18:00-21:30; Kyoto City Bus #5, Jingu-michi; www.shorenin.com

Nov. 2-Dec. 2
Chion-in Temple

This is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism and its main entrance gate, San-mon, stands 24 meters tall and 50 meters wide, making it the largest wooden gate in Japan; The temple's stunning Miei-do Hall, San-mon Gate, Hojo Garden and Yuzen-en Garden will be lit up; 800 yen; 17:30-21:00; Kyoto City Bus #206, Chionin-mae; www.chion-in.or.jp

Nov. 3-Dec. 2
Hosen-in Temple

This small, quiet and beautiful temple is situated in the northern rural area of Ohara; 800 yen; 17:45-20:40; Kyoto Bus #17, 18 to ''Ohara'', A 10-min. walk from the bus stop; www.hosenin.net

Nov. 3-Dec. 2
Eikan-do Temple

Eikan-do Temple was built in 853 as a Shingon sect monastery; It became a temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism under Eikan, the temple's 7th head abbot; The temple precinct, home to many maple trees, will be lit up; 600 yen; 17:30-20:30; Kyoto City Bus #5, Nanzenji Eikando-michi; www.eikando.or.jp

Nov. 10-Dec. 2
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

This shrine was built in 947 by the emperor of the time in honor of Michizane Sugawara, a great scholar and politician of the Heian period; The precinct is surrounded by about 300 autumn colored trees; 800 yen (with tea and sweet); Sunset-20:00; Kyoto City Bus #50, Kitano Tenmangu-mae; www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp

November's Top-picked Events 2

Nov. 23-26
The 38th Bonsai Taikan Exhibition

Bonsai are potted miniature trees carefully styled to achieve an aesthetic figure. Though the original concept of Bonsai was brought to Japan from China, a distinctive style of this art form has been developed in Japan over many years.

Various techniques such as the trimming of roots and wiring are employed to keep the trees small. The trees have a life of their own, of course, and grow in accordance with the laws of nature, so they can never be completely controlled by human beings. Humans can't force nature to become what we want but can only appreciate the dignity of each living plant and treat them with love and respect.

The annual Bonsai Taikan Exhibition is the largest Bonsai exhibition in western Japan. A number of Bonsai practitioners from around Japan exhibit their cherished Bonsai all in one place. Sales of Bonsai and Bonsai tools are also part of the event.

A free guided tour by an experienced Bonsai practitioner and a young Bonsai researcher, Hitomi Kawasaki, will be conducted every day from 14:30. ''Although Bonsai is a form of nature, it is not simply an imitation of it. Nature reprocessed by human beings - this is the most interesting part about Bonsai,'' says Hitomi.

The 38th Bonsai Taikan Exhibition at Miyako Messe
9:00-16:30 (until 16:00 on the last day); Admission 900 yen.

Nov. 1-30
Saga-giku Chrysanthemum Flower Exhibition

Saga-giku is a kind of chrysanthemum flower whose sophisticated figure and scent was loved by Emperor Saga. Only grown and found at Daikaku-ji Temple, this unique and secret Saga-giku has symbolized the elegance of the Japanese imperial court since the Heian Period. The height of the plant reaches 1.8 to 2 meters which is said to have made it easier for emperors to appreciate the flowers from their high-raised hall.

Daikaku-ji Temple: 9:00-17:00 (gate closed at 16:30); Admission 1,000 yen (until Nov. 30 during the Bojutsu Buddhist ceremony period; 500 yen after Nov. 30); www.daikakuji.or.jp

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 during tourist season).

620 yen (one way); JR Sagano Line Saga Arashiyama Stn.; www.sagano-kanko.co.jp

Every Day
Hozu River Boat Ride

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

On Hozu River; 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.

4,100 yen; 2,700 yen (4-12 years old); An 8-min. walk from the north exit of JR Sagano Line Kameoka Stn.; Hozugawa Yusen Association: www.hozugawakudari.jp

Oct. 26-Nov. 11
Ohara-me Festival

In Ohara; In the idyllic Ohara area (northeast of Kyoto), people can try on a traditional Ohara-me (women who sold firewood from Ohara to Kyoto in the old days) costume and enjoy strolling through the village (1,000 yen; reservation required by the day before); Oharame mini-parade will be held on the 27th from 13:00.

10:00-14:00; Kyoto Bus #17, 18, get off at Ohara; kyoto-ohara-kankouhosyoukai.net

Oct. 31-Nov. 4
Autumn Old Book Market

At Chion-ji Temple; Organized by the Kyoto Old Book Association, about 200,000 old books of all kinds are displayed and sold at this temple market.

10:00-17:00; Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Hyakumanben; koshoken.seesaa.net/category/8767185-1.html

Until Nov. 28
Biwako Canal Boat Ride between Keage and Otsu

The Lake Biwa Canal was created in the Meiji period (1868-1912) for the purposes of transportation, power generation and the supply of drinking water to Kyoto from Lake Biwa; enjoy riding a small boat along the canal surrounded by the colored leaves.

Otsu to Keage (or vice versa): Tickets: 4,000 yen - 8,000 yen, depends on the day; No service on Tue., & Wed. (except Nov. 27 & 28); The boat trip from Otsu to Keage takes about 55 min. (Keage to Otsu takes about 35 min.); www.biwako-sosui.jp

Until Dec. 24
Kyoto Tower VR (Virtual Reality) Bungee Jump

At Kyoto Tower; Experience a new type of entertainment produced by Kyoto Tower; Why not try bungee jump from the top of the Kyoto Tower (120.9 meter) with the virtual reality device!

700 yen (under 6 not admitted); 12:00-21:00 (last entry 20:40); 11F of Kyoto Tower (1F observation deck); www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/

Nov. 1
Inoko Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Go-o Shrine; An elegant ritual held at the imperial court during the Heian period will be conducted from 17:00; Special rice cakes called Inoko-mochi will be served.

Karasuma subway line, Marutamachi Stn.; www.gooujinja.or.jp

Nov. 1 & 3
Kyoto Citizen Tea Party

At Nijo Castle; The masters of Japan's two tea ceremony schools (Omotesenke on the 1st and Yabunouchi on the 3rd) will serve matcha green tea in a stunning garden at Nijo Castle.

2,500 yen (two bowls of green tea, light meal & entry to the castle); 9:30-15:00; Kyoto City Bus #9, 50, 101, get off at Nijojo-mae; www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/bunshi/nijojo

Nov. 1-10
Gion Odori Dance Performance

At Gion Kaikan; The geiko and maiko of Gion Higashi (one of Kyoto's five geiko/maiko districts) will perform their elegant dances; Performances at 13:30 and 16:00.

4,000 yen, 4,500 yen (with tea service); Kyoto City Bus #100, 206, get off at Gion; Gion Higashi Kabukai: www.gionhigashi.com

Nov. 1-30
Autumn Chrysanthemum Exhibition

At Daikaku-ji Temple; About 600 pretty chrysanthemum flowers in pots are on display in a lovely rural setting.

1,000 yen (incl. entry to the temple treasure hall); 9:00-16:30; Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Daikakuji; www.daikakuji.or.jp

Nov. 3
Kyokusui-no Utage

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Jonan-gu Shrine; People dressed as Heian aristocrats sit on the banks of a stream that flows through the shrine; A sake cup is released downstream and before it reaches the next person, he/she must compose a 31-syllable poem.

From 14:00; Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Karasuma subway line, Takeda Stn., to Jonangu Higashi-guchi; www.jonangu.com

Nov. 7
Ohitaki Fire Festival

At Kifune Shrine; This ancient sacred fire ritual is held to banish malevolent spirits; The ritual is held between 11:00 and 12:00.

Kyoto City Bus #4, get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae, then take the Eizan Railways Kurama Line to Kibune-guchi Stn. and walk to Kibune village; kifunejinja.jp

Nov. 8
Ohitaki Fire Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Fushimi Inari Shrine; This important festival is held to thank the gods for this year's harvest; Over 100,000 wooden prayer sticks offered by the faithful will be burnt and prayers held for family prosperity.

From 13:00; JR Nara Line Inari Stn. or Keihan Fushimi Inari Stn.; inari.jp

Nov. 8
Kanikakuni Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Gion Shirakawa; Maiko and geiko come to offer flowers in front of the memorial statue of Isamu Yoshii (1886-1960), a famous poet and playwright who loved the Gion district; A special memorial service will be held at the Shirakawa Bridge.

From 11:00; Kyoto City Bus #201, get off at Shijo Keihan-mae.

Nov. 11
Maple Leaf Festival in Arashiyama & Yugiri Festival at Seiryo-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

People dressed in traditional costumes will perform dance and music on boats on the Oi River; On the same day, the Yugiri Festival is held at Seiryoji Temple with the ceremony starting from 10:30; Later, this festival joins together with the one on the Oi River; The event will be canceled in case of rain.

From 10:30; Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; www.arashiyamahoshokai.com

Nov. 13
Urushi Lacquer Festival

At Kokuzo Hourinji Temple; A ceremony for the people and craftsmen involved in the lacquerware business starts at 11:00 and people pray for business prosperity; A kyogen theatre play will be performed.

Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; www.kokuzohourinji.com

Nov. 13-16
Japanese Film Screening

At the Japan Foundation Kyoto; Different kinds of Japanese films will be screened each day from 14:00 either with English subtitles or narration; See pg 26 for details.

Admission free; Subway Tozai Line Keage Stn.; www.kcif.or.jp

Nov. 15
Be the first to open this year's Boaujolais Nouveau in Kyoto!

Japan is the first place in the world where you can open a bottle of the year's New Beaujolais; Many pubs and bars in Kyoto offer New Beaujolais; KVG Recommendations: Pig & Whistle Kyoto & the Man in the Moon (Gion, Shijo Karasuma, Rokkaku, Kyoto Stn.); For details, visit their Facebook page!

Nov. 17
Gagaku Music Concert

At Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei; After the obanzai (Kyoto-style home dishes) meal party (18:00-19:00), a special concert featuring gagaku (Japanese ancient court music) will be held from 19:00.

2,500 yen (1,500 yen for 6-12 years children); Reservation required at Tel: 075-343-0003 or E-mail: sakura@urushitei.jp

Nov. 17-Dec. 2
Special Night Time Opening

At Byodo-in Temple; One of the Kyoto's World Heritage sites in Uji will be illuminated along with beautiful maple leaves.

600 yen; 18:00-20:15; Light-up will be held only on Fri., Sat., Sun. & National holidays; About 10-min. walk from both JR & Keihan Uji Stn.; www.byodoin.or.jp

Nov. 18 & 25
Dance Performance by Maiko & Geiko

At Fureaikan Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts; Dance performance by an authentic maiko (apprentice geiko) or geiko depending on the day; 3 shows at 14:00, 14:30, 15:00 (each show lasts about 15 min.).

Kyoto City Bus #5, #100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heian Jingu-mae; kmtc.jp

Nov. 23-26
The Taikan Bonsai Exhibition

At Miyako Messe; A variety of bonsai dwarf trees gathered from all over Japan; These special trees have been carefully cultivated by famous bonsai specialists.

900 yen; 9:30-16:30 (until 16:00 on the last day); Kyoto City Bus #5, #100, get off at Okazakikoen Bijutsukan Heian Jingu-mae; www.miyakomesse.jp

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


Nov. 4
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.

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

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

Nov. 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.

Nov. 24
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.

Nov. 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.

Nov. 25
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.