The Jidai Matsuri Festival is widely known as one of the 3 major festivals of Kyoto, along with Aoi Matsuri and the Gion Matsuri. The festival began in 1895 when the Heian Shrine was built deifying Emperor Kanmu, celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of the Heian relocation (moving of the capital city to the current location of Kyoto) in the year 794. The festivities were originated by a group of citizens known as "Heian-kosha" who organized a parade of men and women in Kyoto's various historical attire—from Enryaku to Meiji era, ranging a total of over a millennium—resembling an ancient picture scroll. The procession has been held annually on October 22nd, the anniversary date of the capital's relocation.
On the day of the festival, a 2km long parade consisting of approximately 2,000 people march in each era's gorgeous historic attire led by a band of drum and flute players, from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine, reviving the glorious history of the city. Many visitors from abroad as well as from around the country come to witness the event, creating an international atmosphere along the course of the procession.
Jidai Matsuri's gorgeous parade reproduces over 1,000 years of Kyoto's history from its establishment as a capital city in the Heian period, all the way to the Meiji era. The 2km long procession begins with the most recent era of Meiji (which came after the fall of Edo period's Tokugawa Shogunate, with the newly established Meiji government switching to an emperor system) then moving back in time until reaching the Enryaku period when the nation's capital was relocated to the current location of Kyoto. By observing the parade, you will surely feel the immense history of Kyoto.
The Kyoto City Tourism Association sells tickets for paid seats, for those who wish to relax and view the parade go by.
The seats are located inside the Kyoto Imperial Palace where the colorful parade leaves from, as well as on Oike street and on the main path of Heian Shrine, the procession's final destination. View the festival at a historic location representative of Kyoto.
Paid seat prices:
¥2,050 per seat (all seats assigned, includes a pamphlet)
*Please contact Kyoto City Tourism Association for tickets (Japanese & English)
Please use public transportation methods for viewing the festival.
Please be aware that there are limited numbers of restrooms available.
Please be aware of other spectators as well as the procession while taking pictures or filming the event.
Please stay seated while viewing from a paid seat. Furthermore, please refrain from smoking, setting up a parasol or using a selfie stick.
Please do not take pictures with a flash, for it may frighten the horses and cows.
Access to Kyoto City
JR Kyoto Station, Kintetsu Kyoto Station
Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gyoen)
Address: Kyotogyoen 3, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto City, Kyoto
(by train) Ride the subway Karasuma line from Kyoto Station to "Marutamachi Station", then walk for 10 min.
(by city bus) Catch the city bus from Kyoto Station to "Karasuma-marutamachi" bus stop, then walk for 10 min. (city bus may be subjected to traffic restrictions)
Address: Nishitenno-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
(by city bus) Catch the city bus (#5) or the Raku bus (#100) from Kyoto Station to "Okazakikoen-bijutsukan/Heianjingu-mae" bus stop, then walk north for 5 min. (city bus may be subjected to traffic restrictions)
(by train) Ride the subway Karasuma line from Kyoto Station to "Karasuma Oike Station", transfer to the Tozai Line and get off at "Higashiyama Station", then walk north-east for 10 min.