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Jidai Matsuri

Held annually on 22 October, Jidai Matsuri - lit. "festival of the eras" - is the relatively new festival of Heian Shrine, itself a relatively new Shintō shrine for Kyōto standards. Both the shrine and the festivals were created in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) after the Emperor and the capital moved to Edo, creating Tōkyō (lit. "the eastern capital"). Unlike the other two great festivals of Kyōto, the Jidai Matsuri thus does not trace its history back into Heian period. Instead, the festivals celebrates the 1,000 years of Kyōto as Japan's capital. A long procession from the Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine takes place, with participants - on horses, in regiments, carried in old-style court fashion - dressed in garments from Japan's early history until the Meiji Period, making the festival an absolute joy to anybody interested in garments, dresses and armours.

For photographers like myself, Jidai Matsuri is a treat. Instead of watching the actual parade, many of us stroll around the Imperial Palace gardens in the hours before the parade starts, getting dozens and hundreds of chances to shoot portraits that otherwise would be pretty much impossible. Therefore, below I present a small selection sorted by years, from 2016, 2018 and 2019. Every year, my eye was focused on different aspects of the festival.



2016 / 2018

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