Kyoto Japan

Things To Do In Kyoto In October 2024: Kyoto’s Best October Events & Festivals

Kyoto’s October festivals and events are a vibrant celebration of tradition and culture. One of the highlights is the Zuiki Matsuri, where unique Mikoshi made of taro stems honor the autumn harvest. The festival kicks off with a divine Shinto ritual and features a parade with 350 priests and shrine parishioners.

Kyoto Japan
Kyoto Japan

Another must-see is the Awata Festival at Awata Shrine, dedicated to deities Susanowonomikoto and Oonamuchinomikoto. Geiko and Maiko, traditional Japanese performers, grace both festivals, adding elegance to the processions.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich cultural aesthetics and deep spiritual significance of Kyoto’s October festivals.

Key Takeaways

  • Zuiki Matsuri and Awata Festival are two of Kyoto’s prominent autumn festivals that celebrate tradition and culture.
  • These festivals involve various Shinto rituals, parades, and events that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto.
  • Geiko and Maiko, traditional Japanese entertainers, play a significant role in both festivals, adding to the grandeur and beauty of the celebrations.
  • The Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō ritual at Sokujō-in temple is a unique and rare ceremony that exhibits deep spiritual significance and cultural aesthetics.

Zuiki Matsuri: A Celebration of Autumn Harvest

Zuiki Matsuri celebrates the autumn harvest with unique Mikoshi made of taro stems, and it features a divine Shinto ritual to kick off the festival.

This vibrant celebration takes place in Kyoto, Japan, and is a true feast for the senses.

The festival begins with a mesmerizing ceremony, where priests offer prayers to the gods for a bountiful harvest. As the ceremony concludes, the parade begins, with 350 priests and shrine parishioners carrying the magnificent Mikoshi through the streets.

These portable shrines are adorned with taro stems and dried vegetables, creating a stunning display of autumnal beauty. The tradition of decorating the Mikoshi dates back to the Kitano Matsuri Festival, adding a sense of history and tradition to the event.

It’s a breathtaking sight that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto and celebrates the abundance of the harvest season.


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Awata Festival: Honoring Deities and Ancient Traditions

During the Awata Festival, participants honor deities and partake in ancient traditions. This revered event takes place at the Awata Shrine in Kyoto, dedicated to the deities Susanowonomikoto and Oonamuchinomikoto.

The festival comprises five Shinto rituals and events, each steeped in rich cultural significance. One of the highlights is the Yowatari Shinji, where participants circle a sacred stone called Uryuseki. Another notable tradition is the creation of intricately crafted lanterns, known as Awata daitourou, made by university students in Kyoto.

The festival culminates in the Shinkosai Festival, featuring a grand parade with a massive Mikoshi, or portable shrine. Participants carry long-handled sacred spears called Kenhoko, adding to the vibrant spectacle.

The Awata Festival is a wonderful opportunity to witness ancient traditions come to life and immerse oneself in the vibrant culture of Kyoto.

Geiko and Maiko: Elegant Participants in Festive Processions

Geiko and Maiko, dressed in exquisite attire, add an elegant touch to the vibrant processions of the Awata Festival and Zuiki Matsuri. These skilled traditional Japanese entertainers bring a unique charm to the festivities, captivating onlookers with their grace and beauty.

As they join the parade, their colorful kimonos and intricate hairstyles catch the eye of all who witness their presence. The Geiko and Maiko perform traditional dances, showcasing their talent and expertise. Their movements are precise and fluid, reflecting years of training and dedication.

The sound of their traditional instruments fills the air, adding a melodic backdrop to the lively atmosphere. Spectators are left mesmerized by the Geiko and Maiko’s performance, as they embody the essence of Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.

Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō: A Sacred Ritual at Sokujō-in Temple

The Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō ritual at Sokujō-in Temple showcases a solemn and immersive experience for participants. This sacred ceremony is held to honor Amida Buddha and the bodhisattvas, embodying deep spiritual significance. With a history spanning over a thousand years, Sokujō-in’s ritual seamlessly marries ancient tradition with captivating spectacle. Very few temples in Japan have similar rituals, making this event a truly unique and special occasion. The participants, wearing special masks and clothing, symbolize Amida Buddha’s sacred journey. The ritual exhibits rich cultural aesthetics, transporting attendees to a world of reverence and devotion. To provide a visual representation, here is a table showcasing the key elements of the Nijūgo

Kiyomizuyaki No Sato Matsuri: Showcasing Kyoto’s Pottery Heritage

Credit Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Festival 3
Credit Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Festival 3

Local and national artisans showcase their craftsmanship at the Kiyomizuyaki No Sato Matsuri, a large pottery festival in Kyoto. Visitors are greeted with a vibrant atmosphere filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of this celebration of pottery heritage. Here are three things that make this festival truly special:

  1. Rows of colorful ceramic vessels line the streets, their intricate patterns and delicate glazes catching the sunlight. The artistry on display is a testament to the skill and creativity of the potters.
  2. The air is filled with the scent of freshly baked clay as kilns fire up, transforming raw materials into beautiful ceramic pieces. The process is mesmerizing to watch, as the artisans meticulously shape and mold the clay with their hands.
  3. Visitors can try their hand at pottery-making, getting a taste of the artisan’s life. From shaping clay figurines to crafting their own tea bowls, there’s a sense of fulfillment in creating something with one’s own hands.

The Kiyomizuyaki No Sato Matsuri is not just a festival, but a celebration of the rich pottery heritage that Kyoto is known for.

Shinkosai Festival: The Climax of Awata Festival

Participants in the Shinkosai Festival, the climactic event of the Awata Festival, carry a massive Mikoshi and wield long-handled sacred spears called Kenhoko as they parade through the streets of Kyoto.

The festival, held annually at the Awata Shrine, is a vibrant celebration of tradition and culture.

As the participants march with great energy and enthusiasm, the atmosphere becomes electric with excitement.

Spectators line the streets, eagerly cheering and applauding as the procession passes by.

The sight of the massive Mikoshi being carried by a sea of dedicated individuals is truly awe-inspiring.

The rhythmic sounds of the spears hitting the ground create a captivating beat that resonates throughout the city.

It is a moment that embodies the spirit of Kyoto’s autumn festivals and showcases the deep-rooted traditions that have been passed down through generations.

Funaoka Taisai: Commemorating Oda Nobunaga’s Entry to Kyoto

After the exhilarating climax of the Awata Festival, the city of Kyoto continues its autumn festivities with the grand Funaoka Taisai.

This annual ritual, held at the revered Kenkun Shrine on Mt. Funaoka, commemorates the historic entry of warlord Oda Nobunaga into Kyoto. The festival attracts visitors from far and wide, eager to witness the rich cultural traditions and vibrant spectacle.

The event showcases a captivating procession, featuring priests, soldiers, and servants, all adorned in traditional attire. The air is filled with a sense of reverence and excitement as participants carry out various rituals to honor Oda Nobunaga and pay homage to the shrine’s sacred grounds.

The Funaoka Taisai is not only a celebration of history but also an opportunity for locals and travelers alike to immerse themselves in the unique traditions and heritage of Kyoto.

Kyō-yaki/Kiyomizu-yaki: Blending Tradition and Contemporary Artistry

Blending traditional techniques with contemporary artistry, Kyō-yaki/Kiyomizu-yaki pottery incorporates various art forms to create unique and high-quality pieces.

This pottery style originated in Kyoto and has a rich history dating back to the Momoyama period. The potters in Kyoto have always prioritized craftsmanship and the production of high-quality ceramics.

Today, Kyō-yaki/Kiyomizu-yaki pottery is a beloved art form that showcases the fusion of traditional culture with contemporary demands. The artisans employ intricate hand-painting techniques, vibrant glazes, and innovative designs to create stunning pieces that are both functional and decorative.

Each piece is a testament to the skill and creativity of the potters, and they are highly sought after by collectors and art enthusiasts alike. Whether it’s a tea bowl, vase, or plate, Kyō-yaki/Kiyomizu-yaki pottery adds a touch of elegance and beauty to any space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Significance of the Mikoshi in the Zuiki Matsuri Festival?

The mikoshi in the Zuiki Matsuri festival is significant as it symbolizes the autumn harvest. Made of taro stems and adorned with dried vegetables, the mikoshi showcases the traditional customs and celebrates the bountiful crops.

How Are the Lanterns for the Awata Festival Created?

The lanterns for the Awata Festival are intricately crafted by university students in Kyoto. They showcase the blend of traditional culture with contemporary demands, adding a vibrant and enchanting atmosphere to the festival.

What Is the Purpose of the Reiken Ceremony in the Awata Festival?

The purpose of the Reiken ceremony in the Awata Festival is to bring together Shinto priests and monks in a collaborative effort. It is a sacred ritual that adds to the spiritual significance of the festival.

How Do Geiko and Maiko Participate in the Zuiki Matsuri and Awata Festival?

Geiko and Maiko participate in the Zuiki Matsuri and Awata Festival by attending processions in splendid attire. They showcase their dance skills and offer a concluding dance on the final day, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy their performances in autumn.

How Does the NijūGo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō Ritual at Sokujō-In Temple Celebrate Amida Buddha and the Bodhisattvas?

The Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō ritual at Sokujō-in temple celebrates Amida Buddha and the bodhisattvas with a captivating spectacle. Participants, wearing special masks and clothing, symbolize Amida Buddha’s sacred journey in a ritual that seamlessly marries ancient tradition with rich cultural aesthetics.

The Sum Up

To sum it up, Kyoto’s autumn festivals are a vibrant celebration of tradition and culture that truly captivate the senses.

From the divine rituals and parades of the Zuiki Matsuri to the ancient traditions and events of the Awata Festival, these festivals offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of Kyoto.

The presence of Geiko and Maiko adds elegance and grace to the festivities, while the Nijūgo Bosatsu Oneri Kuyō ritual at Sokujō-in temple provides a deeply spiritual experience.

Lastly, the Kiyomizuyaki No Sato Matsuri showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of Kyoto’s pottery artisans.

These festivals are not to be missed for anyone seeking an immersive cultural experience.