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Jidai Matsuri Festival Report!

November 02 , 2015

The Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of Ages, took place as planned on 22nd October 2015 in Kyoto.

The festival was started in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the establishment of the capital Heiankyo (Kyoto) which lasted from 794 until 1868 when the capital was relocated to Edo (Tokyo). In the same year the Heian Jingu Shrine, where the spirits of the first Emperor Kammu and the last Emperor Komei are enshrined, was built. The festival starts at the Imperial Palace from where it proceeds through the streets of Kyoto all the way to Heian Jingu. Together with the Gion Matsuri and Aoi Matsuri, it’s one of the three big festivals in Kyoto.

While the day started of cloudy, the weather took a turn for the better in the afternoon so that the festival took place under clear skies. With the mayor of Kyoto at the head of the parade, the procession proceeds through Japanese historic periods from the Meiji Restoration (which saw the capital being relocated to Edo) back to the beginning of the Heian period when the capital Heiankyo was established. The last part of the procession features the two mikoshi (portable shrines) which carry the two emperors Kammu and Komei. Parts of the procession also feature horses and carts, other parts are animated by music. Not just famous figures and warriors but also common people are represented in the parade in colorful costumes that are a fun to watch and will make you want to learn more about the history of Kyoto.