Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Jobs
Friends
Shopping
Essentials
-
Sightseeing
-
Accommodation
-
Transportation
-
Food
-
Budget Travel
-
Shopping
-
Questions

Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto
Jidai Matsuri 
# 51   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

The Jidai Matsuri is a festival that takes place every year on October 22, the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. It consists of a large parade that travels from the Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine. Jidai Matsuri is Japanese for "Festival of Ages", and the participants of the parade are dressed in accurate costumes from almost every period of Japanese history, as well as famous historical figures. There are about 2000 participants and it takes two hours to watch the entire procession pass by.

The Jidai Matsuri is held by Heian Shrine, and both the festival and the shrine were established in 1895 to celebrate Kyoto's history and culture. A few years before in 1868, the capital was moved to Tokyo after having been in Kyoto for over a thousand years. Despite its short history, the Jidai Matsuri is one of Kyoto's three most famous festivals, along with the Gion Matsuri in July and the Aoi Matsuri in May.

The festival's honorary commissioners, including Kyoto's prefectural governor, city mayor and city council chairman

The historical costumes and characters that are displayed in the parade cover the approximately 1100 years during which Kyoto was the national capital. The procession is separated into historical eras and then further separated into themes, of which there are about twenty. The parade begins with characters from the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and then continues in reverse chronological order until the beginning of the Heian Period in 781.

At the very head of the parade there are the festival's honorary commissioners, riding in horse drawn carriages in the style of the mid 1800s. The commissioners include figures like the governor of Kyoto Prefecture, the mayor of Kyoto City and the city council chairman. Following them are figures of the Meiji Restoration. There is a marching band with drums and flutes and soldiers who would have fought with the imperial forces, as well as some of the era's most notable figures, such as Sakamoto Ryoma.

A marching band of the Meiji Restoration
Oda Nobunaga on horseback

The largest group in the parade depicts the extravagant convoys sent by the shogun to represent him at important imperial ceremonies in Kyoto during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The three most important officials ride on horseback, and there is also a palanquin carried by attendants that the officials would use when traveling. Afterwards there is a much smaller group that consists of about a half dozen famous women from the period, including a princess sitting on a wheeled platform.

As the parade continues, spectators are able to see the armor of Oda Nobunaga and his commanders, the dress of warriors and common people of the Muromachi Period (1338-1573), more famous historical women and nobles of the Heian Period (794-1185). The costumes and characters of the military, cultural, aristocratic and common people are all put on display.

A mikoshi carried by attendants
Women bearing flowers follow the mikoshi

The very last group of the parade is the most important in terms of Shinto rituals. A large number of attendants accompany and carry two mikoshi (portable shrines) that contain the spirits of Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei, respectively the first and last emperors to reside in Kyoto. Heian Shrine is dedicated to the two emperors, and there spirits normally reside in the shrine. However, during the Jidai Matsuri the spirits are able to travel through the city in the mikoshi.

The entire route of the parade stretches about five kilometers. Crowds become most dense at the Imperial Palace and on the approach to Heian Shrine, where spectators may want to get a spot early. In addition to the regular viewing areas lining the parade route, there are also sections of reserved seats at the shrine, the palace and on the streets. Details on the reserved seats are written below.

The marching band of the Meiji Restoration reaches Heian Shrine

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
The procession departs from the Imperial Palace, travels along Oike Street and Sanjo Street, and finally terminates at Heian Shrine:

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Paid Seating

There is some paid seating at the Kyoto Imperial Palace, in front of Kyoto City Hall and along the approach to Heian Shrine. Each seat costs 2000 yen, includes a pamphlet about the festival, and can be purchased beforehand at Lawson convenience stores or JTB travel agencies.

Advertisement

Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
Search Hotels
Sponsor Hotels
Ryokan Saka-no-ue
Traditional, cozy ryokan with 12 rooms. Japanese cottage style houses available. Located near Yasaka Shrine and Gion.
Ryokan Hirashin
3min walk to Shijo Karasuma Sta. Spacious Japanese-style rooms. 140 years of history. Public baths renovated in 2006.
Hotel Sugicho
A ryokan in the center of Kyoto town. From 4000yen. 4 train stations are within walking distance. Try the Kyoto Kaiseki.
Arashiyama Hanaikada
A little, superior ryokan right near Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama. Free transfer at JR station. Private onsen bath.
Japanese hotel, Ryokan Nishiyama
Experience the real Japan at our affordable ryokan. Close to major tourist spots in Kyoto.
Ryokan Motonago
A real traditional inn at Gion with 11 rooms, friendly staff. Walking distance of Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka-jinja and more.
Hotel Sanoya
3 min from north exit of JR Kyoto Sta. but in quiet area. Cozy, clean Japanese rooms with bath. Internet PC in lobby.
Ryokan Wakamiya
Inexpensive, cozy inn with helpful staff. 7 min walk from JR Kyoto Sta. Free Internet PC. Communal baths on top floor.
Recommended Hotels around Kyoto - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking

Tours and Packages
Experience the Real Japan With MeetUs Kyoto
Take a trip to Kyoto and meet new people while learning about Japan. English-speaking students offer opportunities for cultural exchange with locals.
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Jidai Matsuri:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 52 users):
79/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 764):
421.  Sapporo Beer Museum (Sapporo)   79/100
422.  Mikumari Shrine (Yoshino)   79/100
423.  Zakimi Castle (Okinawa Island)   79/100
424.  Museum of History (Osaka)   79/100
425.  Lake Kawaguchiko (Fuji Five Lakes)   79/100
426.  Jidai Matsuri (Kyoto)   79/100
427.  Tokyo Water Bus (Tokyo)   79/100
428.  Kokusaidori (Okinawa Island)   79/100
429.  Sand Dunes (Tottori)   79/100
430.  Sanno Matsuri (Tokyo)   79/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 894):
393.  Lake Motosuko (Fuji Five Lakes)   137
394.  Myoshinji Temple (Kyoto)   136
395.  Kanzeonji Temple (Dazaifu)   135
396.  Museum of History (Miyajima)   135
397.  Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo)   134
398.  Jidai Matsuri (Kyoto)   134
399.  Cherry Blossoms (Yoshino)   133
400.  Ohashi House (Kurashiki)   131
401.  Honmaru Goten (Kawagoe)   130
402.  Yanaka (Tokyo)   130

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Heian Shrine
Official English website with information on the Jidai Matsuri.

Japanese Links
Heian Shrine
Official website with information on the Jidai Matsuri.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages
Travel
Sightseeing
Kansai Region
Kyoto

Festivals
Event Calendar

Heian Shrine
Kyoto Imperial Palace
Japanese History

Gion Matsuri
Aoi Matsuri
Jidai Matsuri

Kyoto: Access and Orientation

News and Reports
April 15, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by raina
April 11, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by sean
April 8, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by sean
April 6, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by raina
April 3, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by raina
April 3, 2014
Uji Cherry Blossom Report
by schauwecker
April 1, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by sean
March 29, 2014
Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
by scott
More reports...

Related Questions
Seating tickets to the Jidai Matsuri?
 1 reaction, last updated 594 days ago
Jidai Matsuri Questions
 1 reaction, last updated 940 days ago
Wearing a Yukata at Jidai Festival?
 5 reactions, last updated 1388 days ago
Trafica card for non flat fare kyoto
 2 reactions, last updated 3 hours ago
Arashiyama walk
 1 reaction, last updated 21 hours ago
Randen, Keifuku from Ryoanji to...
 1 reaction, last updated 33 hours ago
Ohara return to central Kyoto
 0 reactions, last updated 33 hours ago
Bus 205 to Kinkaku Temple at 8.30am...
 3 reactions, last updated 4 days ago
Flowers at end May in Kyoto?
 1 reaction, last updated 8 days ago
Miyako Odori - How to buy tickets?
 10 reactions, last updated 14 days ago
Nanzenji to ginkakuji
 6 reactions, last updated 14 days ago
Kyoto 1 Day Bus Pass
 5 reactions, last updated 15 days ago
Kyoto - Late cherry blossom
 1 reaction, last updated 18 days ago
Kyoto's 500 Yen City Bus Pass
 7 reactions, last updated 18 days ago
Sakura nightviewing spots in Kyoto
 4 reactions, last updated 23 days ago
Bike rental for one month in Kyoto
 1 reaction, last updated 27 days ago
Ohara sunday market
 2 reactions, last updated 28 days ago
Luggage on Sagano Sightseeing Tram
 2 reactions, last updated 31 days ago
Kiyomizu-dera during Spring
 1 reaction, last updated 32 days ago
Kyoto booked; where to stay?
 6 reactions, last updated 33 days ago

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: February 7, 2014
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising