Tips for KYOTO

May 15th, Elegance of an imperial procession

Aoi Matsuri Festival

The Aoi Matsuri Festival, held on May 15th every year, is one of Kyoto’s three largest festivals along with the Gion Matsuri Festival and Jidai Matsuri Festival.  This is one of the rare examples of a national festival that retains the traditions of Japan’s ancient imperial culture.

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The Origins of the Aoi Matsuri Festival?  

The Aoi Matsuri Festival is an annual festival hosted by Kamigamo Jinja Shrine and Shimogamo Jinja Shrine.  It is said that the origin of the festival, the Miare Ritual, first took place on April 14th, around 544.  Later the ritual became an nation’s official festival and has continued up to the present day.  Also, in 819, it was recorded that the festival was considered as the most important annual national festival in the imperial code.  The Nihon Shoki (“Chronicles of Japan”) states that the nation suffered from disasters, famine and plagues during the reign of Emperor Kinmei (reign: 539-571), and people offered prayers to the deity of Kamo to cease them.  This formed the origin of the Aoi Matsuri Festival.  The name of the festival derives from a plant, Aoi, or hollyhock.   When the festival was restored in 1694, all elements involved in the festival were decorated with leaves of hollyhock including bamboo screens in the imperial palace, carts, the regalia of imperial delegates and servants and even the horses and oxen.

Fujin-gaho,June issue,2013 Published on 14.06.23

Translation to English by AD BRAIN INC. Published on 14.06.23

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