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September 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 Events

The Autumn Harvest Moon

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

No place could better suited for full moon viewing other than the timelessness of Kyoto. Of all the year's 12 full moons, the September full moon, or harvest moon, is considered to be the most sublime.

It is said that the moon viewing custom was introduced to Japan from China during the Nara (710-794) and Heian periods (794-1185). Moon viewing takes place on August 15th in the lunar calendar, and it is called jugoya, which means the night of the 15th. Jugoya in the present calendar changes every year and usually falls in September or October. It's said that the moon on that night is the brightest and the most beautiful during the year.

Sprays of susuki (pampas grass), which resemble rice plants, and other autumn grasses are displayed at various houses and shops along with neat clusters of tiny rice dumplings (tsukimi dango). On a more public level, celebrations are held in temples and shrines.

Jugoya Moon Viewing Events in Kyoto

Sept. 27
Kamigamo Shrine

After a special dance performance, special sweet dumplings and sake will be offered to the first 300 people from 17:30.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, #46, get off at Kamigamojinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp/

Sept. 27
Shimogamo Shrine

During this moon viewing music festival, traditional dance and music, including koto harp music will be performed from 17:30. The performers and players will wear gorgeous Heian period costumes.

Tea ceremony: 1,000 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0010; www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/

Until Dec. 29
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 tourist season).

Entry: 620 yen (one way); Access: JR Sagano Line, Saga Arashiyama Stn.; Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Tel: 075-861-7444; http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/

Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Run

© 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 of rapids with wonderful mountain views; Boats depart every hour between 9:00-15:30 (the last boat departs at 15:30). * For having a safety-check, the river ride won’t be available on Sept. 9.

Tickets: 4,100 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/

Sept. 6
Hassaku Festival at Matsuno-o Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Every year around this time, the local people hold a big ceremony to pray for a good autumn harvest and family safety; At 8:30, women carry a big mikoshi portable shrine; Sagano Rokusai Nenbutsu dance will be performed from 16:00.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Matsuno-o taisha; Tel: 075-871-5016; www.matsunoo.or.jp/

Sept. 9
Karasu Sumo Wrestling and Choyo Ceremony at Kamigamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 10:00, people offer chrysanthemum flowers at the main hall and pray; After the ritual, local children compete in the shrine's annual Karasu sumo wrestling event; A free cup of chrysanthemum sake will be offered to visitors.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #4, 46, get off at Kamigamo-jinja-mae; Tel: 075- 781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp/

Sept. 14 & 15
Seiryu-e Festival at Kiyomizu Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 14:00, a long blue dragon (representing a sacred guardian of Kyoto) marionette carried by many men will dance through the temple precinct.

Entry: 300 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-551-1234; www.kiyomizudera.or.jp

Sept. 15
Yoshitsune Festival at Kurama Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 11:00, a memorial ceremony will be held to commemorate the spirit of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the legendary Heian period samurai who once lived at this temple; After the ceremony, Japanese martial arts will be performed in front of the main hall.

Entry: 300 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #4 get off at Demachiyanagi-eki-mae and take Eizan Railway to Kurama Stn.; Tel: 075-741-2003.

Sept. 19
Free Public Opening of the Shin-en Garden at Heian Jingu Shrine

The large Japanese stroll garden that surrounds the north side of the precinct of Heian Jingu Shrine is divided into four parts; This shrine's large scale garden will be open free of charge on this day.

Entry to the garden is free on this day (usually 600 yen); 8:30-16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, 100, get off at Okazaki Koen, Bijutsukan, Heian Jingumae; Tel: 075-761-0221; www.heianjingu.or.jp/

Sept. 19-23
Hagi Festival at Nashinoki Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

During this festival, people write poems on a piece of paper and tie them to the branches of the shrine's many flowering bush clovers; In the shrine hall, kyogen, dance and koto harp will be performed.

Ticket with tea: 800 yen or 1,500 yen (with a ceramic plate); Access: Kyoto City Bus #17, 205, get off at Furitsu Idai Byoin-mae; Tel: 075-211-0885; nashinoki.jp/

Sept. 22 & 23
Seimei Festival at Seimei Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

On the 22nd, people holding lanterns form a procession from 19:00 to welcome the spirit of Abe no Seimei after which a Kagura dance and music performance will be held; On the 23rd, about 500 people march around the shrine precinct playing traditional music from 13:00.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi Seimeijinja-mae; Tel: 075-441-6460; www.seimeijinja.jp/

Sept. 23
Gokonomiya Noh Performance at Gokonomiya Shrine

Between 17:00-20:00, noh, dance and kyogen will be performed on an outdoor stage.

Ticket: 3,500 yen; Access: Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Momoyama Goryomae Stn.; Tel: 075-611-0559; www.kyoto.zaq.ne.jp/gokounomiya/

Sept. 23
Takase-gawa Boat Festival

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

A ceremony will be held at the start point of the Takase-gawa canal; Maiko from Ponto-cho will serve green tea.

10:30-16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae.

Sept. 23
The 13th Nishijin Traditional Cultural Festival at Senryou-ga-tsuji

This is a great opportunity to see and experience an area called Senryo-ga-tsuji, which played an important role in the Nishijin area. A lot of a raw silk and woven fabric wholesalers started and prospered here. On this day, quite a few traditional houses along Omiya Street are open to the public and they also exhibit their cultural heritages, etc.

10:00-17:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Ichijo Modoribashi Seimeijinja-mae; The event will be held along Omiya street, south of Imadegawa; Tel: 075-432-3228.

Sept. 24
Kamigyo Takigi Noh Performance at Shiramine Jingu Shrine

From 16:00, a range of traditional entertainment (dance, noh, koto harp, etc.) will be performed; In the event of rain, the event will be held at the Kongo Noh Theatre.

Ticket: 2,000 yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #9, get off at Horikawa Imadegawa; Tel: 075-441-3810.

Sept. 27
Sencha and Kencha Festival at Heian Shrine

From 9:00, the Iemoto masters of the 6 schools of Sencha tea ceremony will perform tea ceremony for the deities of the shrine (the public can't enter the ceremony area); After the ceremony, green tea will be served to the public.

Ticket: 2,000 yen (2 cups of green tea); 9:00-15:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, 100, get off at Okazaki Koen, Bijutsukan, Heian Jingu-mae; Tel: 075-761-0221; www.heianjingu.or.jp/

Sept. 28
Comb Festival at Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This unique festival is dedicated to offering thanks to women's combs and hair ornaments; From 13:00, a ceremony is held and then a beautiful procession of women with their hair done in a wide range of styles spanning more than 1300 years and wearing clothing from those periods will walk through the surrounding area.

No entry fee; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; Tel: 075-561- 5127; www.yasui-konpiragu.or.jp

Until Sept. 23
Ukai Cormorant Fishing in Arashiyama and Uji

Ukai is a traditional fishing method in which cormorants (large diving birds) are used to catch sweet river fish or ayu; Carried out on the Oi and Uji Rivers, this event is one of the most popular summer tourist attractions in Arashiyama and Uji; Tourists can watch the event either from the banks of the river or get a seat on a boat which let them watch the performance up close;* They might be cancelled in the case of bad weather.

Ukai in Arashiyama: Adults: 1,800 yen, Children (4-12 years old): 900 yen; 18:30-20:30 (Boat ride: 18:30 & 19:30); Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 075-861-0302 (Arashiyama Tsusen)

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Ukai in Uji: Adults: 2,000 yen, Children (6-12 years old): 1,000 yen; 18:30-19:30 (Reception from 17:30; Boarding from 18:00); Boarding area: Nakanoshima Park; Access: Keihan Line, transfer at Chushojima Stn. to Uji Stn.; Tel: 0774-23-3334 (Uji City Tourist Association)

At the moment, there are 2 women Usho who do the fishing in Uji's Ukai
© Uji City Tourist Association

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

Sept. 6
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.

Sept. 8
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.

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

Sept. 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; 7:00-17:00.

Sept. 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.

Sept. 27
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.