A festival held at the Heian Jingu Shrine, the Jidai Matsuri is one of the three largest festivals of Kyoto together with the Aoi Matsuri – Hollyhock Festival (May 15th) and the Gion Matsuri (July 1st – 31st).
The highlight of the festival is the Jidai Gyoretsu (Historic Pageant): a mikoshi (a portable shrine) and a suite of some 2,000 people dressed in costumes representing various eras of Kyoto’s 1,200-year history parade through the city. At noon, the procession departs from Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace), and parades over a total distance of 4.6 kilometers as far as its destination, namely the Heian Jingu Shrine, arriving there around 2:30 in the afternoon. The line of the parading people stretches over a long distance and it takes more than one whole hour for the entire procession to pass one spot.
This is a fine opportunity for taking a close look at the costumes, accessories and fittings which are reproduced with the quintessence of Kyoto’s traditional handicraft techniques. You will find it just as exciting as a visit to an art gallery or a museum. Moreover, the unique atmosphere of the old streets and houses of Kyoto makes the spectators feel as if they have traveled back to antiquity. This is an ideal festival for overseas visitors wishing to learn more about Japan and to see the chronological changes in Japanese costumes and customs.