It commemorates the founding of Kyoto as the Imperial capital by the Emperor Kammu in 794, so this is definitely one for the history enthusiasts. The Jidai Matsuri is a procession of over 2000 people in costumes from every era of Japanese history, departing from the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the morning and moving along a route several kilometers long to Heian Jingu Shrine. Geisha also participate in the Jidai Matsuri, dressed in junhitoe kimono, some of the most elegant and complex clothing in the world. This festival, established in 1895, is all about authenticity — the costumes, music, and symbolism are all historically accurate.
Admission is free.
This festival is held annually on October 22.
The best places to view the parade are the Imperial Palace (in the morning) and Heian Shrine (around 2 p.m.), but get there early: the festival is mega popular. You can also check out the participants before and after the event.
How to get there
Both of the venues are near Jingumarutamachi Station, and Heian Jingu Shrine is near Higashiyama Station.