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Introducing the Aoi Festival!

This "Skyscape" produced video "[Kyoto / Aoi Matsuri 2017] EOS 5D Mark IV 4K Saiodai and Shimogamo Shrine / Headquarters Kyoto Aoi Matsuri Festival(【京都・葵祭2017】EOS 5D Mark IV 4K 斎王代と下鴨神社・社頭の儀 Kyoto Aoi Matsuri Festival), shows the Kyoto Aoi Festival which is held in the Kansai region in Kyoto during the fresh green season.

The Aoi Festival consists of three ceremonies: the Miyagi ceremony (宮中の儀, Kyuchu no gi), Roadside ceremony (路頭の儀, Roto no gi), and the Shrine ceremony (社頭の儀, Shatōnogi). Unfortunately, the Miyagi ceremony is not currently being held.
The video shows the sacred shrine ceremony in detail.
Watch the videos to discover the mysterious and beautiful traditions of Japan.

What Kind of Event Is the Aoi Festival

Image of Shimogamo Shrine Tower
Photo:The Tower Gate of Shimogamo Shrine

The Aoi Festival is a festival of the World Cultural Heritage sites, Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社, Kamigamo Jinja) (Kamobetsu Raijin Shrine) and Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社, Shimogamo Jinja) (Kamo Miso Shrine), and is also called the Kita Festival (北祭, Kita Matsuri) or Kamo Festival (賀茂祭, Kamo Matsuri).
The two shrines have been worshipped in Japan since before the Heian period (794 AD to 1185 AD), as Kyoto's number one shrine.
The Aoi Festival introduced in this video is counted as one of the three major festivals of Kyoto, along with the Gion Festival and the Festival of the Ages.

In addition, the Kyoto Gozan bonfire is added to the three major festivals of Kyoto, causing them to sometimes be referred to as Kyoto's four major events.
The Aoi Matsuri is one of the oldest festivals in Japan, and it is mentioned in the "Rivalry of the Carriages" in the Aoi chapter of The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji Monogatari).

Let's Check Out Japan's Aoi Festival!

Image of Aoi Festival
Photo:Aoi Festival

The roadside ritual of the Aoi Festival is a Heian picture scroll procession that follows a route from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kamigamo Shrine.
At 0:28 in the video, we see the Saiin of the Aoi Festival, dressed in the "Jūnihitoe," a twelve-layered ceremonial kimono.

At the Aoi Festival, there is also a royal envoy and ladies wearing special kimono, and they will travel along the streets with horses and oxen.
Participants in the Aoi Matsuri parade decorate their hair with wilder ginger from the Futaba-Aoi plant.
After the ceremony in front of the shrine's main building, the procession is filmed in a line from Shimogamo Shrine to the main hall of Kamigamo Shrine. This can be seen at 2:16 in the video.

What are the dates and highlights of the Aoi Matsuri?

If you are going sightseeing in Kyoto for the Aoi Festival, I recommend May.Kamo horse racing ceremony on May 1st during Golden Week, andYabusameShinto ritual on May 3rd.On May 4th, many Shinto rituals will be held, such as "Saiyo Daigyokei no gi" to purify oneself in the Mitarai River in the precincts, and on May 5th, "Awari Shinto ritual to shoot arrows to ward off evil spirits."

And the main event, "Roadside Ceremony," will be held on May 15th.The tour of about 500 people dressed in bright Heian costumes is worth seeing.It is scheduled to depart from Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 on May 15th and arrive at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine at around 15:30.

If you want to see the Aoi Festival up close, you may want to use the paid seats.
Around the pilgrimage route there are many famous restaurants such as Saruya, and Yoshinobu Tsuruya, so you can enjoy Kyoto's gourmet cuisine for lunch or buy some souvenirs.

Summary of the Aoi Festival

 Image of Kamigamo Shrine
Photo: Kamigamo Shrine

The video introduced here captures an elegant scene that's as if you've traveled back in time to the Heian period (794 AD to 1185 AD).
The Aoi Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, so be sure not to miss it!

To get to Kamobetsurai Shrine (Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine), it takes 30 minutes from JR East Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus or by car, or a 20-minute walk from Kitaoji Station on the Karasuma Subway Line.
There is a parking lot, but traffic is restricted during the Aoi Festival, so we recommend using a Kyoto city bus or train.

You can enjoy Kamigamo Shrine not just during the Aoi Festival, but year round as well!

Some recommended spots are: “Tachisuna” imitating Kamiyama in front of Nino Torii, “Jokē-en,” a beautiful garden, "Saio Sakura" named after the priestess of the Aoi Festival, "Shinmasha" where you can see the village Hakuba, The Hosono, Maiden (Hashido), Tamabashi, and Romon, all important cultural properties, the Ominata River, the Mitarai River, used for purifying the objects and people in rituals, the Kamiyama spring, Kataoka Shrine, Motomiya Shrine, Kifune Shrine, Kamoyamaguchi Shrine, Kamoyamaguchi Shrine, Shingu Shrine, the Katayama Lion Shrine, Ota Shrine, the wishing stone, the "Kamizen wedding ceremony" (wedding ceremony before the gods), and more.

There are hotels and inns near Kamigamo Shrine, so we recommend an overnight stay.
Be sure to visit Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, which are also famous power spots.

◆Kamigamo Shrine Facility Overview◆
【Address】 339 Kamigamo Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
【Access】About 30 minutes by car from R East Kyoto Station
【Hours】5: 30-17: 00
【Closures】Open all year round
【Parking】Available (Charge)
【Telephone No】075-781-0011
【Entrance fee】 General admission free, 500 yen for special visits

【Official Website】Aoi Festival 2019 | Kyoto Sightseeing Information KYOTOdesign

【Official Website】Kamigamo Shrine (Kamo-wake-ikazuchi Shrine)

【Tripadvisor】Aoi Festival

Written By
Last Updated : Oct. 8, 2020
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
The Aoi Festival - Enjoy the Sacred Ceremony Known as One of the Three Major Festivals of Kyoto! An Elegant, Yet Mysterious Atmosphere, as If You've Been Transported Back in Time, Spreads Throughout Kyoto in the Spring!
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