Miyako Odori at Gion Kobu Kaburenjo — April 1st – April 30th
Miyako Odori is a one hour long traditional dance performance by Maikos/Geikos attached to the Gion Kobu District. Participants can enjoy not only dancing but also other Japanese culture such as displays of beautiful Kimonos and traditional tea ceremony (only for people who buy a special ticket). More information on this event is found at “Real Kyoto Exprience With Miyako Odori Perofomance in Gion“. Gion Kobu has a special booking page for visitors coming from foreign countiries here. They perform at 12:30, 14:00, 15:30 and 16:50. Visitors with a tea ceremony ticket need to come 40 mins before the show starts.
Seiryukai at Kiyomizudera Temple — April 3rd
The town near Kiyomizudera Temple holds a parade event a few times a year called Seiryukai. This parade is based on a legend that a dragon, which is thought to be an avatar of Kannon (Deity of Mercy), stops by the Kiyomizu area to drink water from Otoba Waterfall. The parade starts at 14:00 at Kiyomizudera Temple.
Kyoto Imperial Palace Public Opening — April 3rd – 7th
As explained in “Kyoto Imperial Palace Spring Public Opening 2015“, there are two periods where visitors can go inside the gates of Kyoto Imperial Palace without making a reservation, spring and fall. The spring is perfect for cherry blossoms viewing as well. The best route is to go from Imadegawa Station, not Marutamachi Station, and go inside from the north gate. This will bring opportunities to see cherry blossoms before seeing the palace buildings.
Open Hours: 9:00 – 15:30
Period: April 3rd to April 7th 2015
Rokkakudo Spring Illumination at Chohoji Temple April 10th – 12th
Rokkakudo (official name: Chohoji Temple) is famous for being the birth place of Japanese traditional flower arrangement called Ikebana. It is right in the center of Kyoto’s business district, and actually there is a stone called “Heso Ishi”, which means belly button stone, in this temple. For these three days, this temple is ornamented by the next leader of the biggest flower arrangement group in Japan, Ikenobo. Tip: The Starbucks next to this temple has a gigantic glass window so people can enjoy drinking a cup coffee while looking at Rokkakudo.
Illumination: 18:00 – 21:00 on April 10th – 12th
Kyokusui no Utage at Jonangu Shrine
This is a traditional event which originated in China and later on reached to Japan, and according to old documents, it was performed in 485 in Japan to welcome an emperor at the time. The rule is quite simple, the poets must compose a Waka (Japanese traditional poem) according to the topic or theme of the day before a small boat with Sake cup floats down the stream to them, and then drink it. Although it is performed in Japanese, the poets will dress up like aristocrats from the Heian Period (794 – 1192) and a traditional dance will be performed. And during this event, Jonangu’s famous garden is open to public for free. The show starts at 14:00.