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. Over 500 people participate, all wearing Hollyhock leaves in addition to their costumes, including 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.
The procession begins at the Imperial Palace from 10:30am and passes via the Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamigamo Shrine where it finishes at 3.30pm.
There are paid seats along the route and even ones with English audio-translation in the palace, or you can line up and try to get a good spot somewhere along the route. You can purchase tickets for Kamigano shrine on the day for 1,000 yen on the day, so queue early if you’re keen, and regular tickets are available at convenience stores or from the Kansai Tourist Information Center in Kyoto, among other spots.