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Festivals and Rites 祭・行事

Religious festivals (matsuri) and rituals (gyōji), both Buddhist and Shintō, are accompanying the life of the Japanese throughout the year. Due to its status as the cultural and religious centre of Japan, unsurprisingly, besides the usual Shintō matsuri, a large number of other rites are surviving to this day in Kyōto.

The year in Kyōto, as elsewhere in Japan, starts with extensive New Year celebrations. Here, this season is accompanied by the annual Tōshi-ya archery competition at Sanjūsangen-dō. In February, the Setsubun festival at Shintō shrines throughout the city takes place to fend off bad luck. On 15 May, 17/24 July and 22 October, the Three Great Festivals of Kyōto (Aoi Matsuri, Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri) take place. Besides these, local festivals like the Shishi-sai in May, or religious rites like Hōnen's birthday at Chion-ji in April,the summer festival of purifying ones body and soul in Shimogamo Shrine in July, or the Joya no Kane to ring out the Old Year on silvester all accompany Kyōto residents through the year.

Jidai matsuri 2018.jpg

Jidai Matsuri (22 October), Kyōto

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