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May Event Highlights
See, Feel and Experience More of Kyoto
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

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Every Day
Hozu River Boat Ride

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

On Hozu River; The boat 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 at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00. 13:00, 14:00, 15:30.

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

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).

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

Every Day
Fushimi Jikkoku-bune Boat Ride

At Fushimi's Uji River; Jikkoku-bune used to carry food stuffs and passengers on the Yodo River in the Edo period; The boat tour takes about 55-min. and goes past willow trees and sake breweries.

1,200 yen; 10:00-16:20; Access: Kintetsu Line, Momoyama goryo-mae Stn., or Keihan Line, Chushojima Stn.; kyoto-fushimi.or.jp/ship/

Until May 6
Omuro Flower Festival

At Ninna-ji Temple; Ninna-ji Temple is famous for its unique Omuro Sakura, a kind of cherry tree whose height remains lower than the general cherry variety; Azalea and other seasonal flowers will adorn the precinct.

500 yen; 8:30-17:30; Kyoto City Bus #26, get off at Omuro Ninnaji; www.ninnaji.jp

Until May 6
Special Night-time Opening and Illumination

At Kodai-ji Temple: The temple's large pond garden, tea ceremony rooms and buildings are surrounded by a bamboo forest creating an especially elegant atmosphere when lit up at night.

600 yen; Until 21:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyamayasui; www.kodaiji.com

Until May 6
Special Night-time Opening and Illumination

At Entoku-in Temple: The temple has gorgeous sliding door paintings created by famous modern Japanese artists.

500 yen; Until 21:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyamayasui; www.kodaiji.com/entoku-in/

May 8
Yamakage Shrine Annual Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Yoshida Shrine; Yamakage Shrine, located on the grounds of Yoshida Shrine, is dedicated to the god of cutlery, who is seen as the protector of restaurants and the food industry in general. On their annual important festival day, a special ceremony called ''Shiki Bocho'' where a large fish is cut without touching it with anything else than a knife and two large metal chopsticks is performed in front of the shrine to honor the deity (from 14:00).

Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kyo-dai Seimon-mae; (Yoshida Shrine); www.yoshidajinja.com

Until May 10
Flower Ceiling Special Opening

At Hiraoka Hachiman-gu Shrine; Visitors will be able to view the 44 richly-colored floral paintings on the ceiling of the shrine, said to have been painted during the Edo Period (1600-1868).

800 yen; 10:00-16:00; JR Bus (from Kyoto Station), get off at Hiraoka Hachiman.

Until May 10
Fudo Taisai Festival

At Sanzen-in Temple; For about one month from mid-April, the Statue of Fudo Myo-o, the hidden Buddhist statue covered with gold, will be opened to the public.

700 yen; 9:00-17:00; Kyoto Bus #17 or 18, get off at Ohara; sanzenin.or.jp

Until May 10
Azalea Garden Opening

At Mimuroto-ji Temple; Mimuroto-ji Temple in Uji is a nature lover's delight with a 1,200-year history; Over 20,000 azalea bushes will be in full bloom from the late April to early May.

800 yen; 8:30-16:00; A 15-min. walk from Keihan ''Mimuroto'' Station; www.mimurotoji.com

Until May 13
Jusan Mairi

At Kokuzo Horin-ji Temple; The tradition started in the early Heian period when the young Crown Prince ascended to the throne when he was 13 and held a special ceremony at Horin-ji Temple on March 13th; Boys and girls of 13 years old visit the temple between April 13th and May 13th and receive wisdom from the deity for a successful future.

500 yen; 9:00-17:00 (10:00-16:00 for the exhibition); Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; www.kokuzohourinji.com

Until May 25
Spring Special Opening of Temple Treasure Hall

At To-ji Temple; Famous temple headquarters exhibits its Mikkyo (esoteric Buddhist) mandala art; Temple's treasury hall will be open to the public.

500 yen (Treasure Hall); 9:00-17:00 (enter by 16:30); Kintetsu Kyoto Line ''To-ji''; www.toji.or.jp

Until May 31
Tango-no Sekku Seasonal Celebration in Machiya

At Tondaya; May 5th is a traditional Japanese celebration for boys and people display samurai armors and dolls in the house wishing for healthy growing of their boys.

Machiya visit and guidance 2,000 yen, with Tangono Sekku lunch: 10,000 yen (excl. tax; reservation required); 9:00-18:00; Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi; www.tondaya.co.jp

Until May 31
Special Temple Treasure Hall Opening

At Seiryo-ji Temple; Seiryo-ji Temple, aka Saga Shaka-do, will open its valuable temple treasures to the public including the Thee Statues of Amida (National Treasure) and 10 Disciples of Buddha (Important Cultural Property).

700 yen (main hall + treasure hall); 9:00-17:00; Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; seiryoji.or.jp

May 1-3
Special Evening Garden Light-up

At Murinan Garden; Enjoy the changing light at twilight just as nature intended around the superb garden; Grab a drink at the specially-opened bar and chill out in the dusk falling on the fine Japanese garden.

800 yen; 18:30-21:00 (last entry: 20:30); Subway Keage Stn.; murin-an.jp

May 1-4
Enma-do Nenbutsu Kyogen

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Senbon Enma-do Temple; Kyogen is a traditional comic play originally started as a way of spreading Buddhist teachings to the general public; May 1st & 2nd from 19:00; May 3rd & 4th from 13:00, and from 18:00.

Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Senbon Kurama-guchi; yenmado.blogspot.com

May 1-5
Spring Antique Book Fair

At Miyako Messe; One of the largest indoor antique book fairs in Japan; All kinds of books (classics, academic books, art books, novels, paperbacks, etc.) will be sold by about 40 book shops; 10:00-16:45 (until 16:00 on the last day).

Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Okazaki Koen Bijutsukan Heian Jingu-mae; miyakomesse.jp/english

May 1-18
Goryo Festival

At Kamigoryo Shrine; Kamigoryo Shrine is regarded as the oldest shrine which started the Goryo-e ritual; The festival reaches its peak on the 17th and 18th; From 11:30 on the 18th, mikoshi portable shrines will be carried out of the shrine hall and go around the neighborhood.

A short walk east of Subway Kuramaguchi Stn.

May 2-4
Shinsen-en Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Shinsen-en Temple; May 2nd, Buddhist sutra chanting ceremony from 14:00, Japanese drum performance from 19:30.

Kyoto City Bus #9, 50, get off at Horikawa Oike or Tozai Subway Line, Nijojo-mae Stn.; www.shinsenen.org

May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Sake Tasting Night

At Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei/Hongan-G; The host, Mr. Davidson, will lead participants into the unknown Sake World and share ideas on how to enjoy tasting sake to its utmost.

2,000 yen; 18:00-19:00; Reservation required; 2nd, 16th & 30th at Sakura Urushitei; Email: sakura@urushitei.jp ; 9th & 23rd at Sakura Hongan-G; Email: culture@kyotoryokan-sakura.com

May 3-5
Citizen's Sencha Tea Party

At Nijo Castle; In the beautiful Seiryu-en Garden, traditional tea ceremony will be hosted by two different schools; A great opportunity to enjoy green tea as well as see the Ninomaru Palace (National Treasure) and garden.

2,000 yen (entry to the castle and 2 tea ceremonies); 10:00-15:00; Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Nijojo-mae or Subway Tozai Line, Nijojo-mae Stn.; nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/

May 5
Grand Annual Festival

At Jishu Shrine: A small temple located inside the Kiyomizu Temple; Procession of people dressed in traditional costumes from 13:00 will go along Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka to Chawan-zaka, returning to the main hall at around 14:30.

400 yen (admission to Kiyomizu Temple); Kyoto City Bus #207, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; www.jishujinja.or.jp

May 7
Uesaku Festival

At Kurama Temple; On the night of the full moon in May, many Buddhist priests will pray to the deity for world peace (from 19:00); This festival has been held for many centuries and is similar to special festivals held in southeast Asian Buddhist countries.

300 yen; Eizan Railways, Kurama Stn.; www.kuramadera.or.jp

May 17
Mifune Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In Arashiyama; The Mifune Matsuri (Three Boats Festival) is an iconic festival which is wellknown for the portion that takes place on the water, as the participants take to a small fleet of boats in order to recreate an elegant Heian period pastime, wherein nobles enjoyed various refined entertainments.

Held at the scenic Oi River near the popular Togetsu-kyo Bridge, priests from Kurumazaki Shrine lead a procession from Nakanoshima Park across the bridge. Once the vessels take their occupants out on the water, it is quite fascinating to watch traditional dances and music performed not on a stage, but in the prows of old-fashioned boats.

Shinko Festival at Kurumazaki Shrine at 12:00; The procession begins at 13:00; Boat entertainment: 14:00-15:30; Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen.

May 17
Kanko-sai Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

At Matsuno-o Taisha Shrine Matsuno-o Shrine, founded in 701, is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Kyoto. The Kanko-sai Festival is the closing of their annual Matsuo Festival. Six huge and richly ornamented mikoshi portable shrines are carried out from the shrine in April and three weeks later in May, they will be returned through the streets to the Katsura River and ferried across on this day.

Parade starts from 12:00 and ends in the shrine around 19:45; Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Matsuno-o Taishamae; www.matsunoo.or.jp

May 17 & 24
Saga Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The two main highlights of the festival are Shinkosai Festival (17th) and Kankosai Festival (24th) where the mikoshi of both shrines are paraded; In the Kankosai, the large procession parades to Daikaku-ji Temple and the Togetsu-kyo Bridge; A must-see is the Kenboko (decorated spear-like poles) and Shishimai (lion dance) walking around Arashiyama and Sagano.

Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; www.nonomiya.com

May 25-27
Jozan Ishikawa Memorial Exhibition

At Shisen-do Temple; This temple is the spectacular home and landscaped estate established by samurai, poet and literati, Jozan Ishikawa; From early May, vivid redcolored Japanese azalea flowers will adorn the garden.

500 yen; 9:00-17:00 (10:00-16:00 for the exhibition); A short walk east of Ichijoji Stn. of Eizan Railways; kyoto-shisendo.net

May 26
Traditional Japanese Music Concert

At the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa; Special traditional Japanese music concert in the classical Japanese architecture; Strolling in the superb garden and around the villa is recommended (9:00-17:00).

2,500 yen (+500 yen to enter the villa); From 14:00 (doors open from 13:30); A 5-min. walk from Keihan ''Demachiyanagi'' Station; ja.kyoto.travel/tourism/article/mitsuike/

May 29
YOGA in Kyoto

At the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa; Try yoga in the premises of classical Japanese residential architecture; both yoga practitioners and beginners are welcomed; Strolling in the superb garden and around the villa is recommended (9:00-17:00).

11:00-12:30 or 14:00-15:30; 3,000 yen with a bottle of tea and yoga mat (+500 yen for admission to the villa); A 5-min. walk from Keihan ''Demachiyanagi'' Station; ja.kyoto.travel/tourism/article/mitsuike/

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets


May 3
Flea Market at To-ji Temple: 7:00-16:00

May 8, 18, 28
Handicraft Market at Toyokuni Shrine: 10:00-15:00

May 9
Heian Rakuichi Market at Okazaki Park: 10:00-16:00

May 15
Handicraft Market at Hyakumanben Chion-ji Temple: 8:00-16:00

May 21
Kobo-san Flea Market at To-ji Temple: 8:00-16:00

May 24
Kamigamo Handcraft Market at Kamigamo Shrine: 9:00-16:00

May 25
Tenjin-san Flea Market at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: 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.