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April 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

Meet the Elegant and Wondrous World of Geiko and Maiko

Almost everyone who visits Kyoto is hoping for the chance to meet a real geiko or maiko in person. In reality, these opportunities are few and far between, limited perhaps to the occasional glimpse of a graceful form flowing quickly through the streets, headed to a predetermined engagement.

However, spring is the special time that visitors fortunately have an opportunity to appreciate the elegant dance shows of the four kagai (geiko/maiko districts in Kyoto). Attend one or more of these wonderful dance shows by geiko and maiko this month, and be infatuated with their beauty...

Mar. 25-April 7
The 65th Kitano Odori at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre

The Kitano Odori is an annual dance performance by the maiko and geiko of the Kamishichiken district.

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 or Kamishichiken; Tel: 075-461-0148; www.maiko3.com

April 1-16
The 68th Kyo Odori at Miyagawacho Kaburenjo Theatre

The Kyo Odori is an annual dance performance by maiko and geiko of the Miyagawacho district.

Tickets: 4,800 yen (special seats with matcha green tea), 4,200 yen (special seats without tea); 2,800 yen (2nd seat with matcha green tea); 2,200 yen (2nd seat without tea): From 12:30, 14:30 & 16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Kawaramachi Matsubara; Tel: 075-561-1151; www.miyagawacho.jp

April 1-23
Miyako Odori in Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza

Due to the seismic retrofitting of Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre, this year's Miyako Odori will be held at the Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza (in the Kyoto University of Art and Design) under the title of ''Miyako Odori in Shunjuza.''

Tickets: 4,000 yen (special seats), 3,500 yen (first seat); Closed: April 10th & 17th: From 13:00, 14:45, 16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5 ''Kamihate-cho Kyoto Zokei Geidaimae''; Tel: 075-541-3391; www.miyako-odori.jp

May 1-24
The 180th Kamogawa Odori at Pontocho Kaburenjo Theatre

The maiko and geiko of Pontocho district will perform their annual elegant spring dance and show.

Tickets: 4,800 yen (special seats with tea service), 4,200 yen (special seats), 2,300 yen (general seats): From 12:30, 14:20, 16:10; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Kawaramachi Sanjo; Pontocho Kabu-kai: Tel: 075-221-2025; www.kamogawa-odori.com

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 National 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 Boat Ride

© 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 with rapids and 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, 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. 25-May 7
Okazaki Cherry Blossom Viewing Boat Ride

This traditional water tour, on one of two small boats, will take visitors along a canal route that is famous for cherry blossom viewing; These special tour boats depart from the Nanzen-ji Temple boat park (in front of Biwako Sosui Memorial Museum); 29 boat tours each day, between 9:30 and 16:30 (boat departs every 15-60 min.); From 8:00 and until 20:30 from Mar.25-April 9 for early morning and night-time boat ride.

Tickets: 1,200 yen; Access: Subway Tozai Line, Keage Stn.; Tel: 075-321-7696; http://kyoto-tabi.or.jp/events/jkkfn/_en/

April 1-3
Special Temple Treasure Opening & Spring Event at Chion-ji Temple

Special temple treasure opening (Shakado Hall & Amida-do Hall, valuable cultural properties), tea ceremony by the Urasenke tea master, Randy Channell SOEI. Music concert in in the beautiful white gravel garden white gravel garden with the magnificent view of cherry blossoms (11:00, 13:00, 15:00)

Admission: 1,000 yen (additional 500 yen for Randy's tea ceremony); Access: Kyoto City Bus #203, 206, get off at Hyakumanben; Tel: 075-781-9171; hyakusan.jp

April 2, 8 & 9
Saga Dai Nenbutsu Kyogen at Seiryo-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The Buddhist monk Enkaku started this nenbutsu kyogen in the hope of seeing his deceased mother again; These silent plays are unique and one of the three most important theatre performances in Kyoto.

Admission free; Nenbutsu kyogen theatre performances start at 13:30, 14:30, 15:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; Tel: 075-861-0343.

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, this temple's symbol (and the guardian of the east side of Kyoto), is paraded through the temple area accompanied by a large number of participants in traditional clothing.

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

April 4
Go-o Taisai Festival at Go-o Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The festival is based on an old legend related to the deity of the shrine; April 4th is the day on which the person enshrined as the deity passed away; The ceremony starts at 11:00.

Admission free; Access: Subway Karasuma Line, Marutamachi Stn.; Tel: 075-441-5458; www.gooujinja.or.jp

April 7-9
Flower Arrangement Festival at Daikaku-ji Temple

The event was started in ancient times to commemorate the spirit of Emperor Saga; The flower arrangement festival is held between 10:00 and 16:00; Many original ikebana flower arrangements will be on display; participation in a Tea Ceremony will be offered (for an additional fee), and various food and fun stalls will be set up.

Entry: 500 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Daikakuji-mae; Tel: 075-871-0071; www.daikakuji.or.jp

April 8
Gagaku Music Concert

© Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei

A great opportunity to experience and taste a variety of Kyoto-style home cooking called Obanzai (18:00-19:00). After the meal party, a special concert featuring gagaku (Japanese ancient court music) will be held from 19:00.

Venue: Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei; Fee: 2,500 yen; Reservation: Required at Sakura Urushitei: Tel: 075-343-0003 or E-mail: sakura@urushitei.jp

April 9
Kamo Kyokusui no En at Kamigamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In this shrine's classic Japanese style garden, participants dress in gorgeous Heian-period costumes and play an elegant poetry reading game along the stream (from 13:00); Traditional music will be performed along with an outdoor tea ceremony.

Entry: 1,000 yen (with matcha green tea for the first 500 visitors); Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

April 9
Yasurai Festival at Imamiya Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This festival is one out of the three most mysterious festivals in Kyoto that originally began as a ritual to pray for vanquishing disease and keeping good health; Participants of all ages along with children dance and chant together bearing big flower decorated umbrellas.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #46, get off at Imamiya Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-491-0082; www.imamiyajinja.org

April 14
Spring Annual Festival at Shiramine Shrine

From around 11:30, kemari, a traditional ballkicking game, will be played by participants dressed in ancient court costumes.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Imadegawa; Tel: 075-441-3810; shiraminejingu.or.jp

April 14-16
Hoyoke Taisai Festival at Jonan-gu Shrine

Jonan-gu Shrine is well known as the home of the deity for avoiding calamities arising from compass directions; People thank the deity so that they can avoid evil; The Hoyoke Taisai Festival is on from 9:00 until 16:00; Some traditional folk entertainment will be performed at 10:40 and 13:40; Free sweet sake will be offered to all who attend.

Entry for the garden: 600 yen; Access: Subway Karasuma Line Takeda Stn., and take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3, get off at Jonangu Higashiguchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

April 15 & 16
Heian Shrine Reisai Annual Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This is the most important annual event of the shrine celebrating the accession ceremony day held in 781 of Emperor Kanmu who is the deity of the shrine; The related prayer ceremony will be held on the 15th; On the 16th, various ceremonies will be held including a traditional Japanese mini-music concert, dances by maiko and geiko from 4 kagai districts and a tea offering ceremony to the deity, etc.

Admission free; From 10:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Okazaki Koen/Bijutsukan, Heian Jingumae; Tel: 075-761-0221; http://www.heianjingu.or.jp/

April 15 & 16
Sake Spring - Largest Sake Event in Kyoto

© Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei

About 50 popular and high-quality sake breweries come from all over Japan to Kyoto. 150 kinds of genuine sake and authentic food items by high-ranked local restaurants. Original Hanami bento (lunch box for cherry blossom party) from famous Kyoto cuisine restaurants, too.

Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center; 1-Day Ticket: 4,000 yen (advance: 3,500 yen) with 3,000 yen sake ticket, 1,000 yen food ticket, original sake cup, brochure; After 3 Ticket (entry after 15:00): 2,500 yen (advance: 2,000 yen) with 2,400 yen sake ticket, original sake cup, brochure; Ticket purchase & information: taiken.onozomi.com/sakesp

April 22
Sake Tasting Night

© Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei

Host, Mr. Davidson, will lead participants into the unknown sake world and share ideas on how to enjoy tasting sake to its utmost (18:00-19:00).

Venue: Sakura Honganji; Fee: 2,000 yen; Reservation: Required at Kyomachiya Sakura Honganji: Tel: 075-343- 3500 or E-mail: culture@kyoto-ryokansakura.com

April 23
Inari (Shinko) Festival at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Once a year, the deity of this shrine is transported to an area a little north of the main shrine complex; The Shinko Festival starts at 11:00; Five mikoshi portable shrine are carried in a procession to the Otabisho resting place (for the deity of the shrine) near Kyoto Stn.

Admission free; Access: JR Nara Line Inari Stn. or Keihan Fushimi Inari Stn.; Tel: 075-641-7331; inari.jp

April 29
Kyokusui no Utage at Jonan-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 14:00, participants dressed in gorgeous Heian period kimono, sit along a stream and play an ancient poetry writing game; The first person floats a sake cup on the stream; The next person along the stream creates a poem before the cup reaches him/her; Traditional dance will also be performed on this day.

Admission free; Access: Subway Karasuma Line Takeda Stn., and take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3, get off at Jonangu Higashi-guchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

April 29-May 5
Mibu Kyogen at Mibu Temple

The Buddhist Saint Enkaku used Buddhist sutras in special theatre plays to spread Buddhism to the people; Mibu kyogen has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Culture form by the national government; The plays are performed between 13:00 and 17:30; Five of 30 kyogen plays are performed each day.

Entry: 800 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #26, 28, get off at Mibudera-michi; Tel: 075-841-3381; www.mibudera.com

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


April 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.

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

April 15
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; In case of rain, it will be postponed to April 23; 10:00-17:00.

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

April 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.

April 22
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.

April 23
Kamigamo Shrine: Handicrafts, arts, food, and more; 9:00-16:00.

April 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.