Photo: Kyoto Photo
There is no greater spectacle in Japan than what takes place every year on October 22. The Jidai Matsuri, or “Festival Of Ages” in Kyoto is a huge, colorful event featuring a long parade that travels from the Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine. The Festival is only 2 ½ hours from Tokyo, with the Heian Jingu Shrine only ten minutes walk from Higashiyama Station and minutes away from Kyoto Station on the Kurasama or Tozai (Kyoto subway) Line.
Photo: The Kyoto.jp
Jidai Matsuri celebrates and marks the anniversary of the founding of Kyoto, one of the largest and oldest cities in Japan. The festival is primarily a celebration of the city’s history and culture. Thousands of parade participants dress in authentic costumes (some of which go back over 1000 years). Each period of history is marked by convoys of important officials. The entire procession can take up to five hours to complete.
The Festival Of Ages begins in the early morning with portable shrines brought out from the Imperial Palace. People pay their respects during the parade, as performers posing as samarai, military figures and women dressed in elaborate kimonos called Junihitoe walk the two kilometer parade route.
To capture the full flavor of the Festival Of Ages, Kintetsu recommends staying at several of the outstanding Ryokan Japanese style hotels. Each hotel features warm, yet humble hospitality. The Hiiragiya Ryokan is a charming two-floor wooden structure with rooms overlooking peaceful gardens. Dinner here is prepared Kyoto-style, featuring seasonal ingredients served on carefully selected dishes. The Seikoro hotel is also fantastic, featuring a main bath wooden hot springs. For those looking for something quiet in the nearby mountains, the Gion Hatanaka is the place to be. The hotel is located adjacent to the Yasaka-Jinja Shrine and within walking distance of most attractions. The Sumiya Ryokan opened one hundred years ago, close to all the sights, include Kiyomizu Temple, the Gion (old Geisha district) and Yasaka Shrine.
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