Kamo-Kurabeuma of Kamigamo Shrine (May 5th, 2024)

Kamo-Kurabeuma of Kamigamo Shrine

Kamo-Kurabeuma (horse race) of Kamigamo Shrine is presented here. Kamo-Kurabeuma is held every year on May 5th at Kamigamo Shrine. In Kamokurabe-uma, the horses are divided into two groups, red of the left side (sakata) and black of the right side (ukata), 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. It is said that if red of the left side (sakata) wins, there will be a good harvest.

【Kamo-Kurabeuma 2024 Schedule】

Kamo-Kurabeuma will be held on Sunday, May 5th, 2024, starting at 10:00. Kurabeumae-no-gi will begin at 13:00, and Kurabeuma (horse race, kisoigari) will begin at around 14:00.
Aoi Matsuri Festival 2024

【Kamigamo Shrine Location Map & Directions】

Address: 339 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Kamigmojinja-mae bus stop (short walk), Subway Kitayama Station (about 15 minutes on foot)

【Kamo-Kurabeuma brief overview】

Kamo-Kurabeuma (賀茂競馬) of Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社) is held every year on May 5th as the zen-gi (preliminary event) of Aoi Matsuri Festival (葵祭) Roto-no-gi (路頭の儀, Period Procession) held every year on May 15th. (In case of bad weather, Roto-no-gi is postponed to the next day, the 16th.) Kamo-Kurabeuma was originally held at the Butokuden of the Imperial Palace to pray for peace and a good harvest, but in 1093, the 73rd Emperor Horikawa moved it from the Butokuden to Kamigamo Shrine. Before Kamo-Kurabeuma, Kamo-Kurabeuma-Ashisoroeshiki (賀茂競馬足汰式) is held every year on May 1st.
At Kamo-Kurabeuma, Shobunone-awase-no-gi and other events are held in the morning, followed by Nojiri-hohei-no-gi in the afternoon, where the norijiri (jockeys) pray for safety and victory. By the way, to ward off evil spirits, the norijiri (jockeys) and Shinto priests wear irises (shobu) on their waists, and the horses wear irises (shobu) on their heads.
Kamo-Kurabeuma (horse race) is held on the track from Ichi-no-Torii Gate to Ni-no-Torii Gate, In Kamokurabe-uma, the horses are divided into two groups, red of the left side (sakata) and black of the right side (ukata), 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. The winning norijiri (jockeys) receives the rokuken with a whip, which is passed around twice over his head and his horse is decorated with irises. The first horse race is held in the first manor, Mimasaka-no-kuni Shidori-no-sho (red of the left side (sakata)) and in the second manor, Kaga-no-kuni Kanedu-no-sho (black of the right side (ukata)), and Mimasaka-no-kuni Shidori-no-sho (red of the left side (sakata)) wins, and it is one of the ceremony. It is said that red of the left side (sakata) used to prayed at Kamigamo Shrine, and black of the right side (ukata) prayed at Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, and red of the left side (sakata) won. Incidentally, it is also said that if red of the left side (sakata) wins Kamo-Kurabeuma, it will bring a good harvest.
★In the late Heian period (794-1185), the venue of Kamo-Kurabeuma was moved from the Butokuden in the Imperial Palace to Kamigamo Shrine, but at first, the norijiri (jockeys) were served by the palace court nobles, military officers of the Konoefu. Later, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the norijiri (jockeys) were entrusted to the clansmen of Kamigamo Shrine, but the riding style and manners were inherited, and the winning norijiri (jockeys) dedicated the bugaku “Ranryo-oh” and “Nasori” to the shrine. In the current Kamo-Kurabeuma, the winning norijiri (jockeys) do not perform bugaku, but the norijiri (jockeys) wear the bugaku costume with a “shuiro-no-dakyuraku (red of the left side (sakata) won)” and a “chakashoku-no-komahoku (black of the right side (ukata))”.
★Kamigamo Shrine is said to be the birthplace of horse racing. Kamo-Kurabeuma is mentioned in “Tsurezuregusa” written by Yoshida Kenko, one of Japan’s three major essayists, and it is said that Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Muromachi Shogun, Oda Nobunaga, and others personally took their own horses out and watched Kamo-Kurabeuma. Kamo-Kurabeuma is registered as an intangible heritage of Kyoto City.

【Kamigamo Shrine History】
Kamigamo Shrine is officially called Kamo Wakeikaduchi Shrine. Kamigamo Shrine is said to have its origins in ancient times, when the enshrined deity, Kamo Wakeikaduchi-no-Mikoto, descended to Koyama, located north-northwest of the present shrine building. It is said that Kamo Jingu Shrine was built in 677, and Kamigamo Shrine was founded before that time. Kamigamo Shrine, along with Shimogamo Shrine, enshrines the clan deity of Kamo, and together they were called Kamo Shrine.

【Kamo-Kurabeuma of Kamigamo Shrine remarks】
Always check with the organizer for event information. Information on this site is for reference only. Contents of the event may have changed.
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