Hina Doll Floating at Shimogamo Shrine – March 3rd
March 3rd is a day to celebrate and pray for healthy growth of girls in Japan. Families with girls usually decorate with Hina dolls, which are dressed up in court attire from the Heian Period (794 – 1192). On this day, there is a ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine, where participants float hina dolls on boats made of straws on Mitarashi River, to pray for children’s healthy growth. This ceremony starts at 10 AM, but for people who just want to take a look, go to Shimogamo Shrine at 11:00.
Higashiyama Hanatoro – March 3th – 15th
Higashiyama Hanatoro is an annual illumination event in the Higashiyama Area, which includes Kiyomizudera Temple, Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka Slopes, Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Chion-in Temple and Shorenin Temple. This illumination precedes another illumination that features cherry blossoms. In addition to the illumination, there are flower arrangement displays and dance performances by Maiko (Geisha in training) at Yasaka Shrine at 18:30, 19:00 and 19:30 on March 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th and 15th. Kiyomizudera Temple, Houkanji Temple also known as Yasaka Tower, Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka Shrine (the main hall), Chion-in Temple and Shorenin Temple also illuminate their premises during this event. They require entrance fees from 300 yen – 800 yen. The illumination starts at 18:00 and ends at 21:30.
Restart of Hozu River Boat Tour at Kameoka to Arashiyama – March 10th
Hozugawa River, which runs through beautiful and dynamic Arashiyama and Sagano area, has two good sightseeing attactions. The Sagano Scenic Railway called Trokko and the river boat tour. The river boat tour actually runs all round the year, but from March 10th, boats without roofs will be available, which will surely make the experience more exciting. Note that it starts from Kameoka. To access the starting point, it is the best to use JR Sagano Line from Kyoto Station and get off at Kameoka Station. And walk 8 minutes from there. It is also nice to go to the starting point by using the Sagano Scenic Railway, but in this case, taking a Keihan Bus from Trokko Kameoka Station is required. The boat tour costs 4100 yen/adult, 2700 yen/child and takes about 90 minutes. For more information check the official website.
Cherry Blossoms Illumination – March 20th —
Kyoto has many spots to view the cherry blossoms. They are beautiful in the day time and elegant at night. The spots including the following will be lit up for this special season. For more information on illumination events in Kyoto, check out Kyoto Illumination Calender.
Nijo Castle: March 20th – April 12th 18:00 – 21:00 400 yen/adult 200 yen/child
Toji Temple: March 22nd- April 12th 18：30 – 22:00 500 yen/adult 300 yen/child
Arashiyama Nakanoshima Park (near Togetsukyo Bridge): March 23rd – April 14th (not decided)
Gion Shirakawa River: March 27th – April 5th 18:00 – 22:00
Kiyomizudera Temple: March 28th – April 12th 18:00 – 21:00 400 yen/adult 200 yen/child