Kawadoko at Kibune and Kamogawa River May 1st – September 30th
The restaurants along Kibunegawa River and Kamogawa River offer a special floor set up on the river, so that the customers can enjoy directly seeing Kyoto’s beautiful scenery and feeling the cool air brought by the river. This style is called Kawadoko, and has become popular among Kyoto locals and tourists as well. It depends on the date and restaurant, but it is strongly recommended to make a reservation beforehand through your hotel. We are currently making a list of restaurants which provide Kawadoko, so stay tuned. To get to the Kibune area is a little tricky. First, go to Demachi Yanagi Station by using Keihan Train, then take the Eizan Line (Kurama bound) and get off at Kibuneguchi Station (420 yen). Walk north east for 30 mins or take a Kyoto Bus bound for Kifune (160 yen).
Kifune Area (Kifune Shrine)
Yabusame May 3rd — Shimogamo Shrine
Yabusame is a holy ritual where riders shoot arrows while riding horses. This event marks the beginning of the Aoi Festival, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals in Japan. It is exciting to see riders wearing a traditional hunting cloth releasing arrows when their horse is running. Yabusame ritual starts at 13:00 and ends at 15:00.
Kurabeuma May 5th — Kamigamo Shrine
This is also a part of Aoi Festival and relates to horses. As explained in “Horse Racing at Kamigamo Shrine“, this is said to be the origin of horse racing. Just like Yabusame ritual, the riders will wear a traditional cloth (dancing costume for this one). At Kurabeuma, two riders will compete for speed. The ritual will start at 10:00, but the race will start at 14:00. It is free, but the 500 yen paid area offers a better view.
Aoi Festival May 15th
Aoi Festival is as prestigious as Gion Fesival, which is held at the center of Kyoto City and Yasaka Shrine in June. The highlight of this festival is the parade which resembles a procession of the Heian Period (794 – 1192). Heian Period was a time when aristocrats had power.
The procession will starts at Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:50.
And it will stop by at Shimogamo Shrine at 11:40.
And then arrive at Kamigamo Shrine at 15:30.
A detailed article about Aoi Festival is being written right now. Stay Tuned.