Thu, May

Aoi Matsuri

10:30am – 3:30pm

Also known as the Hollyhock Festival, this is one of the city’s biggest events and is a great chance to see traditional costumes on parade from the Imperial Palace to the Kamo shrines.

What happens?

Over 500 people participate, all wearing hollyhock leaves in addition to their costumes. You can expect to see men on horseback, ornate carts, and women in kimono too. Each year, an unmarried woman is selected to take the role of Saio — originally the youngest member of the Imperial Family and high priestess of the Kamo shrines.

How much?

There are paid seats along the route and even ones with English audio-translation in the Imperial Palace, or you can just line up and try to get a good spot somewhere along the route. You can also purchase tickets at convenience stores like Lawson and Family Mart or at the Kansai Tourist Information Center in Kyoto, the Kyoto General Tourist Information Center and the Kawaramachi Sanjo Tourist Information Corner (more locations here).

Tickets cost ¥3,500 or ¥4,500 depending on where you sit or from ¥8,500 for a live audio description in English of the procession.


The procession usually begins at the Imperial Palace from 10:30 a.m. and passes via Shimogamo Shrine to Kamigamo Shrine, where it finishes at 3.30 p.m.

Photo by EvergreenPlanet/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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