Miz Exploring Kyoto: Watching Aoi Matsuri on Kyoto city road


Die Künstlerin und Redakteurin Manami Sakata war mal wieder für uns in Japan unterwegs. Gemeinsam mit Mizumushi-kun hat sie für Sumikai das populäre Aoi Matsuri Festival besucht.

Finally, I could watch Aoi Matsuri on May 15th (Mon)! Before, I was usually too busy on Sunday & Saturday and Aoi Matsuri always took place on the weekend so I wasn’t able to watch it till recently. Aoi Matsuri is the festival of Court and Kamouji (賀茂氏) and noble people used to come to watch it .

What is the Aoi Matsuri Festival?

Aoi Matsuri is over 1000 years old. The origin is about praying for harvest and it became the national event on 819. The main event is called Roto-no-Gi (Ceremony of road). Chosen people for roles are dressed with traditional noble clothes of the Heian period (平安時代). They participate in a parade from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine. Before these events, some former events took place at Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine. Yabusame Shinji (Yabusame ritual ceremony) is the most popular one!

Japanese Crest Futaba Aoi - Miz Exploring Kyoto: Watching Aoi Matsuri on Kyoto city road
Japanese Crest Futaba Aoi | Creative Commons © Mukai

The Futaba Aoi emblem is used by Kamigamo Shrine. The shape is Aoi (Hollyhock), and that’s why its called „Aoi Matsuri“.

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This is Saio-dai (斎王代). She is the second central person of this parade.
I could only take this one shot. To take photos, it’s better to wait from early on.
Saio-dai was chosen as an unmarried member of the Imperial family. Nowadays, unmarried women who live in Kyoto are chosen for this role.

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Where can I find the Aoi Matsuri?

My recommendation: there is a good Ramen shop near Imperial palace !


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