The Master of Yin and Yang, Abe no Seimei (920-1005) was active in the mid Heian Era. As an astronomer, he could also read the stars, and tell fortunes. Using many "magic spells", techniques and rituals regarding Yin and Yang, he was able to protect the capital from disasters. Even now, he has an amazingly passionate following and is the source of many legends, novels, movies and even video game characters.
The Seimei-sai is held at the shrine in which Abe no Seimei is deified, on the day of the Autumn Equinox, a national holiday, as well as the night before. On the eve of Seimei-sai, a parade of "welcoming" lanterns and offering performances of the traditional Yutate Kagura are held from 7:00pm at the Yoi-miya festival. The Rei-sai is held from 10:00am earlier that morning, and is the most significant ritual of the Seimei Shrine. Parishioners form many lines and perform tea and flower offerings to the deity. Open-air markets fill the shrine grounds and attract many people. In the afternoon, the Shinko-sai (a temporary "walk" for an enshrined deity) is held along with a mikoshi (portable shrine) parade, and a procession of specially chosen children.
From 1:00pm on the Autumn Equinox, the mikoshi togyo (a procession featuring sacred items and a portable shrine) is held during the Shinko-sai. The invigorating calls of the mikoshi carriers enliven the festival. The lively team of young flute players lead a parade around the Nishijin community featuring cute shrine maidens called Miko, and selected children called Chigo in beautiful costume. Enjoy the rare and local atmosphere of Kyoto's streets.
The Yutate Kagura ceremony is held from 7:00pm on the eve of the Autumn Equinox. It is a ritual to pray for a healthy year free of disease and the granting of wishes. Water is boiled in a pot in front of the main hall. Upon finishing the Kagura, the pot is purified by the Miko who continues by splashing the hot water all over using bamboo branches heavy with leaves. Don't be surprised if some splashes reach you.
Viewing the Kagura is of course free of charge, however, if you pay a ceremony fee you can receive a personal Kagura blessing as well as a Seimei Manju (sweet bun) from the offering table. Those who are interested should visit the shrine office on the day of the event.
Twitter : seimeijinja
Instagram : seimeijinja
Nothing in particular
Access to Kyoto City
JR Kyoto Station on the Kintetsu Line
Address: 806 Seimei-cho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City
Imadegawa Station, on the Kyoto City Subway Karasuma Line (going in the direction of the Kyoto International Conference Center). 12min walk from Imadegawa Station. Please head West front he Karasuma-Imadegawa intersection, and turn South at the Horikawa-Imadegawa intersection and you can't miss it.
[Nearest Bus Stop]
1. Ichijo-modoribashi/Seimei Jinja Mae
Please take the Kyoto City Bus number 9 from Kyoto Station, or, take the number 12 bus from Hankyu Karasuma Station or Shijo Station (subway).
Please take the Kyoto City Bus number 12 or 59 from the Sanjo Station on the Keihan Line.
It is a 2min walk from the nearest bus stop.