Aoi Matsuri Festival 2024 Schedule (May 1st-15th)

Aoi Matsuri Festival Schedule

The schedule of Aoi Matsuri Festival (Aoi Festival) is presented here. Zen-gi (pre-event) of Aoi Matsuri Festival begins on May 1st, and Roto-no-gi (period procession), which is the highlight of Aoi Matsuri Festival, is held every year on May 15th. (In case of bad weather, it is postponed to the next day, the 16th.) In Roto-no-gi, about 40 horses, 4 oxen, 2 gissha (ox carts), 1 koshi (palanquin) and about 500 people dressed in Heian period (794-1185) costumes, including saio-dai, parade from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Shimogamo Shrine and from Shimogamo Shrine to Kamigamo Shrine.

【Aoi Matsuri Festival 2024 Schedule (confirmation required)】

Roto-no-gi (Period Procession) of Aoi Matsuri Festival will depart from Kenreimon-mae, Kyoto Imperial Palace on Wednesday, May 15th at 10:30. However, in case of bad weather, it will be postponed to the next day, Thursday, May 16th.

【Aoi Matsuri Festival brief overview】

It is said that Aoi Matsuri Festival began during the reign of the 29th Emperor Kinmei (539-571) in the late Kofun period. During the reign of Emperor Kinmei, wind and flood disasters caused famine and epidemics, and Urabe no Ikiwakahiko’s fortune telling said that it was a curse from Kamo-no-Okami, so the festival was held on a lucky day in April, when horses were hung with bells, people wore boar heads, and the horse race was held, which is said to be the origin of Aoi Matsuri Festival.
Aoi Matsuri Festival is officially called Kamo Matsuri Festival (Kamo Festival), but it is called Aoi Matsuri Festival because the people involved in the festival and even the shrine curtains and oxcarts are decorated with futaba aoi (two-leaved aoi) on a katsura twig.

【Early April : Saio-dai Announcement】

Saio-dai (斎王代) is announced in early April. After the announcement, Saio-dai visits Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine. Saio-dai is a replacement for the Saio, who used to serve at Aoi Matsuri Festival, and is said to be the heroine of Aoi Matsuri Festival. Saio-dai is selected by the Aoi Matsuri Procession Preservation Society from unmarried ordinary women related to Kyoto who are accustomed to wearing kimono, based on recommendations from tea ceremony officials.

【May 1st : Kamo-Kurabeuma-Ashisoroeshiki (賀茂競馬足汰式)】

Kamo-Kurabeuma-Ashisoroeshiki is held every year at Kamigamo Shrine from about 13:00 on May 1st. In Kamo-Kurabeuma-Ashisoroeshiki, the pairings and order of Kamo-Kurabeuma (horse race) to be held on May 5th are decided. In Kamo-Kurabeuma-Ashisoroeshiki, the age and health of the horses are checked, one horse is run at a time, and finally two horses are run at a time, just as in Kamo-Kurabeuma, but without deciding the winner.
上賀茂神社・賀茂競馬足汰式

【May 3rd : Yabusame-Shinji (鏑馬神事)】

Yabusame-Shinji is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine from about 14:00 on May 3rd. In Yabusame-Shinji, the roadsides are purified so that Aoi Matsuri festival can be held safely and peacefully. Three targets are set up in the baba (horse field) of Tadasu-no-Mori Forest and the archers dressed in court nobles or samurai costumes shoot arrows at the targets from horseback with the call of “In-Yo”. The size of the targets is 45 centimeters, and the distance from the horse to the target is about 1.80 meters.
下鴨神社・流鏑馬神事

【May 4th : Saio-dai Misogi-no-gi (斎王代禊の儀)】

Saio-dai Misogi-no-gi is held every year at Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine alternately each year from 10:00 on May 4th. In Saio-dai Misogi-no-gi, Saio-dai purifies herself before to Aoi Matsuri Festival. At Kamigamo Shrine, Saio-dai purifies herself by dipping her hands in the Nara-no-ogawa River, and other women in the procession purify themselves with the katashiro. At Shimogamo Shrine, Saio-dai purifies herself by dipping her hands in the Mitarashi-gawa River, and other women in the procession purify themselves with the ikushi.
上賀茂神社・斎王代以下女人列御禊神事下鴨神社・斎王代以下女人列御禊神事

【May 5th : Busha-Shinji (歩射神事)】

Busha-Shinji is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine from 11:00 on May 5th. In Busha-Shinji, bows and arrows are used to purify the roadside of Aoi Matsuri Festival. In Yaetsu-shiki, kabura-ya (arrow) with a hikime-kabura that makes a sound, is shot over the roof of Ro-mon Gate through which the imperial envoy passes, to purify evil spirits. In Momote-shik, the archers are divided into three groups, and each person shoots two arrows.
下鴨神社・歩射神事

【May 5th : Kamo-Kurabeuma (賀茂競馬)】

Kamo-Kurabeuma is held every year at Kamigamo Shrine fron around 14:00 on May 5th. In Kamokurabe-uma, the horses are divided into two groups, the red horse on the left and the black horse on the right, and start about a horse’s length apart, with the front horse winning if the gap widens and the back horse winning if the gap narrows. Kamo-Kurabeuma was transferred to Kamigamo Shrine in 1093 as a court ceremony to pray for peace and a bountiful harvest.
上賀茂神社・賀茂競馬

【May 12th : Mikage Matsuri (御蔭祭)】

Mikage Matsuri is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine from 9:00 on May 12th. During Mikage Matsuri, the Nigi-Mitama (spirit) of Shimogamo Shrine is united with the spirit of the god born on Mt. Mikage at Mikage Shrine to become the rejuvenated Ara-Mitama (spirit), which is then welcomed into Honden (Main Hall). Kirishiba-Shinji is held in Tadasu-no-Mori forest to express the joy of welcoming the Ara-Mitama (spirit), and dances and Azuma-Asobi are dedicated.
下鴨神社・御蔭祭

【May 15th : Roto-no-gi (路頭の儀)】

Roto-no-gi is held every year from 10:30 on May 15th. (In case of bad weather, it is postponed to the next day, the 16th.) Roto-no-gi is held at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine to perform Shato-no-gi. Roto-no-gi is a procession of about 500 people, including Konoe-tsukai, Saio-dai, Nojiri, Kebiishi and Yamashiro-tsukai, about 40 horses, 4 cows, 2 gissha (ox carts), 1 koshi (palanquin) from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Shimogamo Shrine and from Shimogamo Shrine to Kamigamo Shrine.
路頭の儀

【May 15th : Shato-no-gi (社頭の儀)】

Shato-no-gi is held every year on May 15th at Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine. Shato-no-gi is held in the morning at Shimogamo Shrine and in the afternoon at Kamigamo Shrine. In Shato-no-gi, an imperial envoy reads the saimon and dedicates the heimotsu. The priests receive the saimon and the heimotsu, and reads the kaeshi-norito. In Shato-no-gi, Azumaasobi is dedicated and Some-no-gi is held.
下鴨神社・社頭の儀上賀茂神社・社頭の儀

【after May 15th Kencha-sai (献茶祭)】

Kencha-sai is held every year after May 15th at Kamigamo Shrine. The Omote-Senke and Ura-Senke alternate. In Kencha-sai, Iemoto prepares koi-cha and usu-cha and offers them to the gods in Honden. The fuku-seki is set up in the shrine precincts and tea is served.

【after May 15th Sencha Kencha-sai (煎茶献茶祭)】

Sencha Kencha-sai is held every year after May 15th at Shimogamo Shrine. In Sencha Kencha-sai, Ogawa School’s Iemoto prepares sencha and offers it to the gods in Higashi-Honden and Nishi-Honden. The Sencha-seki and the Gyokuro-seki are set up in the shrine precincts and tea is served.

【Other events of Aoi Matsuri Festival】

●Kenko-sai (献香祭) is held every year at Kamigamo Shrine on April 25th. In Kenko-sai, the site of Aoi Matsuri Festival is purified with the scent of incense and prays for safety. In Kenko-sai, Hachiya-Soke, the head of the Shino school of the incense and the tea ceremony, will offer incense.

  • Kobudo-hono (古武道奉納) is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine from 13:00 on May 4th. In Kobudo-hono, ancient Japanese martial arts such as Kenjutsu, Jujitsu, Iai, Naginata, Bojutsu, and Kusarigama are dedicated in Maidono and Hashidono.
    ●Miare-shinji (御阿礼神事) is held every year at Kamigamo Shrine from the night of May 12th. Miare-shinji is considered a secret ritual and is not open to the public. Miare-shinji is the oldest and most important ritual of Kamigamo Shrine. In Miare-shinji, the ceremonial site is built on the Miareno field, a pair of conical standing sand is placed in front of the site, the spirit of the god is transferred to a sakaki (sakaki), and the spirit is carried to Honden.
    ●Katata Kugoningyoretsu Funahokenhoukoku-sai (堅田供御人行列鮒奉献奉告祭) is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine from 10:00 on May 14th. Katata Kugoningyoretsu Funahokenhoukoku-sai first parades through the Katata area and then moves to Shimogamo Shrine. Katata Kugoningyoretsu Funahokenhoukoku-sai parades from Tadasu-no-Mori Forest to Honden, where crucian carp and funazushi are offered to the gods.
    ●Kenka-sai (献花祭) is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine in early May. In Kenka-sai, ikebana (flower arrangements) are offered to the gods by Kado Enshu-Soke-ichimon (family).
    ●Tadasu-Noh (糺能) is held every year at Shimogamo Shrine in the middle of May. Tadasu-Noh is an open-air Noh play performed in Buden. Tadasu-Noh originated from Tadasugawara-kanjin-Sarugaku, which was performed in 1464 in front of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, and others.

    【Aoi Matsuri Festival Schedule remarks】
    Always check with the organizer for event information. Information on this site is for reference only. Contents of the event may have changed.
    葵祭2024日程(行事・・・)

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