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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.
Spring Special Nighttime Opening Enjoy the beautiful lit-up scenes featuring a spring of marvelous scents During the spring time, important temples and shrines in the area will open at night. This is a great opportunity to see stunning gardens and building illuminations.
Until April 13
This amazing temple is probably Kyoto's most popular and well-known sightseeing spot. From the temple's large wooden balcony and some of its other excellent hillside locations visitors can gain excellent night views of the city. Also about 1,000 cherry blossom trees can be seen, this beautiful scenery has been loved by people since Muromachi period; 18:30-21:30; 400 yen; Tel: 075-551-1234; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206 ''Kiyomizu-michi''.
Until April 6 & April 25-May 6
This is one of Kyoto's five temples with an especially strong connection to the imperial family. The famous stroll round garden with a pond, and another Garden named Kirishima made by Enshu Kobori will be looming out of the darkness; 18:00-21:30; 800 yen; Tel: 075-561-2345; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5 ''Jingumichi''.
Until May 6
This temple was founded by Nene, wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of Japan's most famous warlords). 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; sunset-21:30; 600 yen; Tel: 075-561-9966; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206 ''Higashiyamayasui''.
Until May 6
This temple was where Nene lived out the end of her life. One part of the garden is a national scenic beauty spot. The temple has gorgeous sliding door paintings created by famous modern Japanese artists; sunset-21:30; 500 yen; Tel: 075-525-0101; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206 ''Higashiyamayasui''.
Until Dec. 29
Sagano Sightseeing Tram Ride
The Sagano Sightseeing Tram 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: 600 yen (one way); Access: JR Saga Arashiyama Stn.; Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Tel: 075-861-7444; www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/
Hozugawa Kudari River Run
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).
Tickets: 3,900 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/
Until May 6
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 min.); Until 20:30 from Mar. 27-April 13 for night-time boat ride; 1,000 yen; Access: Tozai subway line, Keage Stn.; Tel: 075-321-7696; kyoto-tabi.or.jp/jikkokufune.html
Seiryu-e at Kiyomizu Temple
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; 300 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-551-1234; www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/
Go-o Taisai Festival at Go-o Shrine
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; Access: subway Karasuma line Marutamachi Stn.; Tel: 075-441-5458; www.gooujinja.or.jp/
The 65th Kyo Odori at Miyagawacho Kaburenjo Theatre
The 64th Kyo Odori at Miyagawacho Kaburenjo Theatre
The Kyo Odori is an annual dance performance by maiko and geiko of the Miyagawacho district; Tickets: 2,500 yen (2nd seat with matcha green tea); 2,000 yen (2nd seat without tea); 4,500 yen with matcha green tea, 4,000 yen without tea; From 12:30, 14:30 & 16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #207, get off at Shijo Keihan-mae; Tel: 075-561-1151; www.miyagawacho.jp/
Until April 7
The 62nd Kitano Odori at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre
The Kitano Odori is an annual dance performance by maiko and geiko of the Kamishichiken district; Tickets: 4,500 yen with matcha green tea, 4,000 yen without tea; From 13:30 & 16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kamishichiken; Tel: 075-461-0148; www.maiko3.com/
The 142nd Miyako Odori at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre
Elegant and fascinating dance show by maiko and geiko in Gion Kobu, the largest Kagai district of Kyoto; Tickets: 4,500 yen with matcha green tea service, 4,000 yen without tea, 2,000 yen (non-reserved seats); From 12:30, 14:00, 15:30, 16:50; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-541-3391; www.miyako-odori.jp/
April 6, 12 & 13
Saga Dai Nenbutsu Kyogen at Seiryo-ji Temple
The Buddhist monk Enkaku started this nenbutsu kyogen in the hope of seeing his deceased mother again; These silent plays are unique and are one of the three most important theatre performances in Kyoto; Free of charge; 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.
Special Spring Opening of the Kyoto Imperial Palace
People can enter the Imperial Palace freely during this period; No reservation is required during this special opening period (admission free); 9:00-15:30; Access: Karasuma subway line, Imadegawa Stn. or Marutamachi Stn.; Imperial Household Agency: Tel: 075-211-1211; www.kunaicho.go.jp/event/kyotogosho/kyotogosho.html
Hoyoke Taisai Festival at Jonan-gu Shrine
Jonan-gu Shrine is well known as the home of the deity for avoiding unlucky 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 10:30 and 13:30; Free white sweet sake will be offered to all who come; 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/
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; Tea ceremony will be offered (with additional fee), and various food and fun stalls will be set up; 500 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Daikakuji-mae; Tel: 075-871-0071; www.daikakuji.or.jp/
Taiko Hanami Gyoretsu Procession at Daigo-ji Temple
This gorgeous procession recreates the atmosphere of the famous large cherry viewing party Hideyoshi Toyotomi held on this site in the late 16th century; The procession starts at 13:00; Access: Tozai subway line, Daigo Stn.; Tel: 075-571-0002; www.daigoji.or.jp/
Kamo Kyokusui no En at Kamigamo Shrine
In this shrine's classic Japanese style garden, people dressed in gorgeous Heian-period costumes and play an elegant poetry reading game along the stream (from 13:00); Traditional music will be performed and an outdoor tea ceremony will also be held; 1,000 yen (with matcha green tea); Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Kamigamo Misonobashi; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp/
Yasurai Festival at Imamiya Shrine
The festival is one out of the three most mysterious festivals in Kyoto. This originally began as a ritual to pray for vanquishing of disease and for good health. With big flowerdecorated umbrellas, people including children dance and chant together; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Funaokayama or #46, get off at Imamiya Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-491-0082; www.imamiyajinja.org/
Spring Annual Festival at Shiramine Shrine
From around 11:30, kemari the traditional ballkicking game by people dressed in ancient court costumes will be played; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Imadegawa; Tel: 075-441-3810; www10.ocn.ne.jp/~siramine/
April 4-May 31
Machiya Visit at Tondaya
Tondaya is an exquisite cultural facility where people can learn about and enjoy Kyoto traditional lifestyle forms; May 5th is boy's day, the traditional day to celebrate boy's healthy growth; At Tondaya, traditional samurai dolls for the festival will be displayed in their large historical machiya house; 8,400 yen (lecture and machiya visit + special meal + tea ceremony), 3,150 yen (lecture and machiya visit +tea ceremony) and other plans are available; 11:00-13:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi; Tel: 075-432-6701; www.tondaya.co.jp/
Ominugui Ceremony at Seiryo-ji Temple
This event is held once a year to honor the temple's Shaka Nyorai, a special kind of Buddha; The ominugui ceremony starts at 14:00; 400 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Saga Shakado-mae; Tel: 075-861-0343.
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; 800 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #26, 28, get off at Mibudera-michi; Tel:075-841-3381; www.mibudera.com/
Kyokusui no Utage at Jonan-gu Shrine
From 14:00, people dressed in gorgeous Heian period kimono, sit along a stream and play an ancient poetry writing game; The first person floats a saké 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; Access: Karasuma subway line, Takeda Stn., then take Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3, get off at Jonangu Higashiguchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com/
Temple & Shrine Flea Markets
April 6, Sun.
This market (first Sun. of month) is focused on antiques of all kinds; Usually not too crowded and great value all around; 7:00-16:00.
April 8, Tues.
A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.
April 13, Sun.
Bishamon-do in Kennin-ji Temple
Known as Tora-ichi, this market (second Sun. of month) specializes in handicrafts & arts; Full of vigor of young crafts people and artists;10:00-16:00.
April 15, Tues.
Kyoto's biggest handicraft market (15th of every month); An absolutely amazing range of handmade things and incredible prices too!; 8:00-16:00.
April 21, Mon.
Also known as Kobo-san, this mega temple market (21st of every month) offers everything and is extremely popular; Go early, especially if on a weekend or a national holiday; 7:00-17:00.
April 25, Fri.
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine
Also known as Tenjin-san, this super shrine market (25th of every month) sprawls in and around this major shrine complex; 7:00-16:30.
April 27, Sun.
About 250 stalls offering handicrafts, arts, food, and more in the sacred precinct of the World Heritage Kamigamo Shrine (4th Sun. of month); 9:00-16:00.
NOTE: Markets shut down much earlier in autumn and winter; when the days get longer and warmer sellers might stay a little longer.