The coming of the warm breezes of May means the coming of “Aoi Festival Season,” one of Kyoto’s three largest festivals. Aoi Festival is the most important annual ritual for both Shimogamo and Kamigamo-jinja Shrines. Although this festival is commonly known as "Aoi Festival," its official name is the Kamo Festival. Aoi Festival is also counted as one of the three “Choku-sai” festivals which are attended by Imperial messengers (Kamo-sai, Iwashimizu-sai, Kasuga-sai). During the festivals, Japanese wild ginger leaves (aoi) are presented before the shrine, and used to decorate shrine halls and nearby buildings, as well as the costumes of the people and floats in the festival procession.
In medieval times, the word "festival" alone was used to indicate this Kamo Festival. The old traditions of the Heian period (794-1185) are preserved in the Aoi Festival’s “Roto-no-gi Ritual” (a procession) and “Shato-no-gi Ritual,” throughout which aoi leaves are used to decorate everything from the bamboo blinds of the imperial float, animal carts, and costumes of the people dressed as messengers and attendants, to the oxen appearing in the procession. In May, many rituals will be held in preparation for Aoi Festival at both Kamigamo and Shimogamo-jinja shrines.
The "Roto-no-gi Ritual" procession will depart from Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 a.m. on the 15th, and slowly proceed to Kamigamo-jinja Shrine via Shimogamo-jinja Shrine.
Reserved seating is recommended to get the best view of the Aoi Festival. It will be offered at the Kyoto Imperial Palace and at the road leading to Shimogamo-jinja Shrine. Sales will begin on April 2nd, 2019.
May 15 (Wed), 2019
Kyoto Imperial Palace (start: 10:30 a.m.) - Shimogamo-jinja Shrine (arrival: 11:40 a.m., start: 2:20 p.m.) - Kamigamo-jinja Shrine (arrival: 3:30 p.m.)
*Postponed in case of rain. (Postponement will be determined early in the morning on the day of the event)
*Times indicate when the head of each procession arrives at the designated location.
*It takes about 1 hour for the entire procession to pass one location.
Reserved Seating: 2,700 yen per seat (Includes assigned seat and pamphlet)
Reserved Seating with English Earphone Guidance: 4,300 yen per seat (Includes assigned seat and pamphlet)
*Ticket prices may vary depending on where the purchase is made.
*Sales will begin on April 2nd, 2019.
Kyoto City Tourism Association
Events & Functions