Centered around 2000 volunteers, the Kyoto Jidai Matsuri brings to life the rich kimono styles, textiles, and figures of Japanese history.

Sheila Cliffe, for JAPAN Forward

Finally this autumn we are seeing some of the popular Japanese festivals being held again, after a break of three years due to COVID-19. Kawagoe held their Jidai Matsuri, or "festival of ages," recently. And on October 22 Kyoto held its own annual Jidai Matsuri.

Although the festival does not have a long history compared to celebrations such as the many centuries-old Gion Matsuri, this festival of ages is one of the three most popular festivals in Kyoto.

Started in 1895, the festival celebrates the founding of Kyoto by Emperor Kammu in 794.

An ox-carried carriage at the Jidai Matsuri. | Photo courtesy of © JAPAN Forward

The Parade is the Star of the Jidai Matsuri

The event centers around a long parade with about 2,000 volunteers who are dressed in costumes from throughout Japanese history. The costumes are very authentically reproduced. As a result, it is like looking at history parading before one's eyes.

The parade starts at the Kyoto Imperial Palace, goes south down Karasuma Street, and then turns east on Sanjo. Finally, it enters Heian Shrine, which is the founder and sponsor of the event.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.