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2016年10月7日

2016 Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)

Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)

Jidai Matsuri is one of Kyoto’s renowned three great festivals, and begun about over a hundred years ago, to celebrate Hei’ankyō’s (as Kyoto was called back then) 1100th anniversary. It was for the inauguration of this festival that the now iconic Hei’anjingu (Hei’an Shrine) was built.

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The first Jidai Matsuri, held on 25th October 1895, was a simple ritual of just paying respects to the enshrined emperor, the late Emperor Kanmu, in Hei’anjingu. From the second year onwards, however, the festival got bigger and bustling with more activities, ultimately turning into a parade full of characters portraying people from past eras. These characters included commoners, entertainers, as well as aristocrats and of course, notable historical figures. As the shrine of Emperor Kammu was transferred from Nagaokakyō to Hei’anjingu on 22nd October, that date is regarded as Kyoto’s anniversary date and thus the festival is held every year on that date.

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The festival brings to life the eras of feudal Japan, from the Hei’an period (794 – 1185) to Meiji (1868 – 1912) period. The costumes of the parade participants were meticulously recreated to resemble as closely as possible to the actual outfits worn by people of each era. Starting from noon on the day of the festival, a long procession representing Japan’s 2000 years of history will depart the gates of Kyoto Goshō (Kyoto Imperial Palace) and parade around Kyoto. The procession contains 8 parts; each part representing one era of feudal Japan, starting with the most recent Meiji period, followed reverse chronologically by Edo, Azuchi-Momoyama, Muromachi, Yoshino, Kamakura, and Fujiwara. The head of the procession is estimated to reach Hei’anjingu at around 2:30pm.

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For Japanese history fanatics, this is a great opportunity to see famous historical figures come to life in the streets of Kyoto! And for festival fanatics, be sure not to miss out on this grand festival! This is indeed THE festival to truly experience Kyoto!

In the unfortunate event that you are unable to attend personally, do not worry; we have pictures from the event for you to feast your eyes on!

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