Events in Kyoto

Kyoto Events

Events in Kyoto

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  • Space_Bunny_Dolphin
    London, UK377 contributions
    First time visiting the Gion festival. There was earlier celebrations where streets were closed and lined with food stalls selling all sorts. The festival itself was so exciting. So many beautiful floats pulled and carried by men. Wonderful experience.
    Written August 4, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • lucem808
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States932 contributions
    The Jidai Matsuri parade is one of the largest in Japan, with 1,700 participants, celebrating the history of Kyoto. It starts at noon at the Sento Imperial Palace (local Japanese have other names for it), ending at the Heian Shrine around 2-4pm--so you can definitely prepare ahead of time.

    To say the parade is quieter, slow-paced, or 'boring and tired' isn't an insult, because Kyoto 'is' or was slow-paced, home of a thousand temples, etc. not the crowded tourist attraction it is now. There isn't a spectacular opening or closing, or performances you need to see (although there are performances which cause the parade to pause at certain spots). I'd recommend finding the spots where they stop to perform (there may be larger crowds gathered), because you'll get the most of the parade seeing this. Otherwise, there are speakers, with a short description in English, and much longer, historic description in Japanese. If you know a little about Japanese history and culture, it goes a long way in understanding the development and story through history from the warring states period to Edo and closer to modern times.

    There is generally a flow of how people dressed during the time, from nobles to soldiers and leaders, including influential people like Nobunaga Oda or Lady Murasaki. This is like a live display of historic time pieces, clothes, etc. (unlike the Nagoya Parade which was held at the same time in 2018, which had re-enactments of battles, etc.)

    This is a free-event, and for the uninitiated, a long line of similar things. If you have kids, you can watch one-time period pass, and that should suffice. Many of the people watching the parade are actually friends and family of someone participating, so you see them waving, and calling out--then they generally leave after. I did stay during the entire parade, and it was very informative and meaningful for me, but you should gauge your interest as it is roughly 2.5 hours long at a walking pace.

    Best bet it is plan around the parade--where will you be visiting? Nijo Castle to the west? Heian Shrine to the easy? What is available nearby? Another note is the area in general gets crowded and busier due to many events taking place at the same time, so plan accordingly. Make your plans flexible, because either the parade will suit you, or you'll stop by, take pictures, and move on to your next stop. (It's just not nice to disparage these people, many of which have ancestors and relatives who they are representing in the parade in various ways.)
    Written November 20, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Dushi-NY
    NY, NY6,486 contributions
    Our stay in Kyoto happened to coincide with the date of the annual festival - May 15.

    We picked up a copy of the parade route from the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Station and decided to try our luck by getting to a section of the parade route near the Imperial Gardens 15 minutes before the start time. We waited over 30 minutes before two Policemen on horses dressed in period costumes appeared signaling the start of the parade. Spectators are asked to respect the Festival/matsuri by keeping our conversations to a minimum.

    It was a hot and humid day. We were amazed at the participants dressed in their multiple layer costumes walking in the hot sun with sandals made of rope. It was certainly the quietest parade we have ever witnessed. The only noise was from the squeaky wooden wheels of the two carts/carriages that were displayed.

    We were glad to have had the opportunity to see the matsuri.
    Written June 3, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Normadic Life
    8 contributions
    The place a fantastic! The tree forest view is so beautiful and serene to walk in. Despite the autumn heat to journey there, there is no regret arriving at the location. Should have taken the bus from Kyoto there instead of taking the train service - the bus takes you to the entrance of the Arashiyama bamboo forest. We went dressed up in traditional samurai costume that made it even more memorable and the food is just simply delicious. Just ignore the tourist crowd from mainland China, who do not seemed to respect Arashiyama. Take your own time there and expect to spend a day there immersing yourself in the peaceful surrounding and having meals there.
    Written March 8, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • DonnieT7
    375 contributions
    Lanterns line the roads and alleys for kilometres. Some store open for business.

    It’s a great time to walk around after dinner.

    Great opportunity for night photography. The nearby temples also admit visitors to 9:30pm.

    These lanterns are a seasonal thing. Please check local guides.
    Written March 28, 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Craxiter
    Edmonton, Alberta99 contributions
    With due respect for the beliefs of others, I never thought I would get to use the words "syncretism" and "pyromaniac" in the same sentence. Agon Shu is a religious movement featuring fusion (syncretism) of two religious traditions of Japan (Shinto and Buddhism) with the major annual event of a "star festival" which involves two massive fires. The result is a multisensory experience that for me was only rivaled by Beethoven's Ninth in the Hollywood Bowl. The large staff was welcoming and kind, and a devotee explained many of the concepts to me. I was given a booklet in English which I read later to see the basis of what I had witnessed.
    Michelin Guides used to rate as "worth a trip" which I think meant somewhat of a drive, as opposed to a detour. For me this actually was a short trip from Nagoya, but I am going to one up Michelin and say that it would be "worth a trip from North America"!
    There are very few non-Japanese at this event, and discussions about the movement with local Japanese showed some suspicion of what this new movement is doing. If you go you will be amazed, and please reciprocate the kindness you will be shown, by showing respect.
    Written February 13, 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Ko N
    4 contributions
    If you will visit Kyoto in Octorber, you better visit this festival to meet local people and get traditional porcelain by cheap price like ¥100-1000! This festval is held in famous pottery town "Yamashina" where you can take a bus from Kyoto station. This is not only the porcelain outlet, but also you can glab some local beer and local food! The best festival in Japan!
    Written July 26, 2016
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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