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Experience Time Travel at Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages)

Experience Time Travel at Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages)

Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages): A unique opportunity to time-travel back through the centuries of Japan’s history and culture

Every year in October, a unique portal to travel back in time opens in Kyoto. Known as Jidai Matsuri, or the Festival of Ages, this event is one of Kyoto’s biggest festivals, along with Aoi Matsuri Festival in May and Gion Matsuri Festival in July. The festival is organized by Heian Jingu Shrine, and consists of a spectacular procession showcasing the eight different eras of Japan’s history, from the Meiji Restoration (around 1868) to the Enryaku period (782-806), in reverse chronological order. 2,000 Kyoto citizens and school children proudly take part in the procession, representing noted historical figures throughout the ages in what would have been their traditional costumes and armory. A total of more than 12,000 period costumes and ceremonial items created by Kyoto artisans bring authenticity, color, and life to the past. The representation of each era within the procession provides a unique time capsule, allowing viewers to experience de-evolution of Japan’s changing fashions, culture, influences, and history unfolding before them.
Jidai Matsuri is held every October 22nd (*Will be held on October 26th in 2019), as it was on this day in 794 AD that Emperor Kanmu made Kyoto Japan’s imperial capital, a status that would last for over 1,000 years, right through to 1869 when the capital was then moved to Tokyo. *Note: The 2019 procession is exceptionally scheduled on October 26 as October 22 falls on the day of the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor in Tokyo.

About the Jidai Matsuri Festival Procession

Jidai Matsuri Festival’s procession represents major historical events in reverse chronological order, from the Meiji Restoration in the early 19 century, to the Enryaku period of the 8th century. Over the course of two hours the parade covers 2 kilometers, from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Heian Jingu Shrine. The brilliantly assembled procession of 2,000 members includes 75 horses and oxen, and numerous carriages.

The Meiji Restoration (Around 1868)

 ⋅ Imperial Army of the Meiji Restoration
 ⋅ The Procession of the Meiji Restoration Patriots

Edo Period (1600-1868)

 ⋅ The Tokugawa Shogun’s Deputy Pays a Courtesy Call to the Emperor
 ⋅ Ladies of the Edo Period

Azuchi-Momoyama Period(1568-1600)

 ⋅ The Procession of Hideyoshi Toyotomi
 ⋅ Lord Nobunaga Oda’s Entry into Kyoto

Muromachi Period (1338-1573)

 ⋅ Muromachi Shogunate Procession
 ⋅ Procession Displaying the Customs of Daily Muromachi Life

Yoshino Period (1333-1392)

 ⋅ The Triumphant Entry of General Masashige Kusunoki into Kyoto
 ⋅ Ladies of the Medieval Ages

Kamakura Period (1192-1333)

 ⋅ The Company of Yabusame Archers

Fujiwara Period (897-1185)

 ⋅ The Procession of Court Nobles
 ⋅ Ladies of the Heian Period

Enryaku Period (782-806)

 ⋅ The Procession of Warriors
 ⋅ The Procession of Court Nobles

Shinko-retsu (Procession of the Sacred Carriages)

 ⋅ The Company Carrying Offerings to the Deities
 ⋅ Zen-retsu (Procession Prior to the Sacred Carriages)
 ⋅ Shinko-retsu (Procession of the Sacred Carriages)
 ⋅ Procession of Shirakawa-me Dedicating Flowers to the Shrine
 ⋅ Kyusen-gumi (The Company of Archers)

The Procession Route

Kyoto Imperial Palace (noon) → Sakaimachi Gomon (12:15) → Karasuma Marutamachi (12:30) → Karasuma Oike (12:50) → Kawaramachi Oike (13:20)→ Kawaramachi Sanjo (13:30 ) → Sanjo Ohashi (13:40) → Sanjo Jingumichi(14:10) → Heian Jingu Shrine (14:30)
*The time in ( ) is the estimated arrival time of the head of the procession. It takes about 2 hours for the entire procession to pass a single location.

Recommendations: Paid Viewing Seats with English Earphone Explanations of the Festivities

Reserved seating (for a fee) at the Kyoto Imperial Park, Oike-dori Street, and along Jingu-michi Street is recommended for the best view of the procession. Reserved seating with English guidance (for a fee) is also available exclusively on Oike-dori Street.
Price: Jidai Matsuri Festival Procession Viewing Seat Tickets: Kyoto Imperial Park / Oike-dori St. / Heian Jingu-michi St.: 2,500 yen & 4,100 yen (English guidance seat on Oike-dori St.) for October 26.
*Viewing seat tickets come with a pamphlet.
*Tickets are non-refundable. We apologize if tickets are sold out.
If it rains on October 26 in 2019, the procession will be rescheduled to the following day (the decision is to be made in the early morning on the day of the festival).
For online reservations, please visit this Website.