Kyoto’s October Festivals

ByJustin Hanus
Sep 27, 2016

Kyoto’s October Festivals

Jidai Matsuri Kyoto

October’s cool temperatures and changing fall landscape makes it the perfect month to enjoy the rich history and beautiful natural scenery of Japan. Luckily, if you’re around the Old Capitol at all in October, you’ll be overwhelmed with options for getting outside and experiencing the culture and beautiful traditions preserved with various festivals and events. Mark your calendars with these events so you don’t miss out on Kyoto’s fall festivities!

Zuiki Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

Start out the month of festivals with a visit to this lively celebration where two shrines will be paraded around the area to honor the autumn harvest.

When: October 1-5
Tel: 075-461-0005

Autumn Harvest Festival at Shimogamo Shrine

Enjoy traditional dancing and musical performances at this shrine in gratitude and hope for a good fall harvest.

When: October 9 from 1:30 p.m.
Tel: 075-781-0010

Autumn Konpira Festival at Yasui Konpiragu Shrine

This is the largest festival of the year for this historic temple, and every day offers exciting traditions to experience and partake in.

When: October 9-12
Tel: 075-561-5127

Doll Memorial Service at Hokyo-ji Temple

Dolls were traditionally a symbol of protection for Japanese girls, and this ceremony connects to this historical tradition by inviting visitors to bring their dolls for a memorial ritual.

When: October 14 from 10:00 a.m.
Tel: 075-451-1550
Website (Japanese):

Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi Pottery Festival in Yamashina

Kyoto has long been famous for its ceramics, and this festival invites the public to witness and experience the intricacies of the craft. Stalls will open up around the major pottery shops so visitors can view and purchase various items, and there will also be hands on demonstrations and musical performances to enjoy!

When: October 16-18 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tel: 075-581-6188
Website (Japanese):

Kasagake Ritual at Kamigamo Shrine

This 800-year-old practice is certainly unique! Come out to this shrine to watch as trained archers attempt to hit their targets while speeding along on horseback!

When: October 18 from 1:00 p.m.
Tel: 075-781-0011
Website (Japanese):

Saigu Procession at Nonomiya Shrine and Togetsu-kyo Bridge

In Japanese history, the imperial family’s princesses were sent to Mie prefecture in order to serve as maidens of the shrine. Before they could become maidens, though, they had to undergo a purification ritual. This practice is commemorated today with a beautiful ceremony at the Nonomiya Shrine followed by a procession to the Togetsu-kyo Bridge for the purification ritual.

When: October 18, Procession departs shrine at noon and arrives at the bridge at 1:30 p.m.
Tel: 075-871-1972

The Jidai Matsuri Festival at the Kyoto Imperial Palace

We couldn’t have a list of October festivals to attend in Kyoto without including the largest of them all! To celebrate and honor the rich culture of the city, this festival is colored by traditional attire and performances that span the twelve centuries of Kyoto’s history. Buy tickets for reserved seating with a perfect view of the performances around the Imperial Palace or arrive early to sneak a peak of the processions along the parade route!

When: October 22, the festival begins in the early morning and the large performance starts at noon.
Tickets: For reserved seating, tickets are ¥2,050 and can be purchased through a travel agency or convenience stores in the area
Website (Japanese):

Image by Rainer Haeßner [CC BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

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