Jidai matsuri - 時代祭 - The Festival of Ages - Adventures of Anette

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jidai matsuri - 時代祭 - The Festival of Ages

This Saturday was supposed to be the day for the famous Jidai Matsuri (時代祭り), which annually takes place in Kyoto on the 22. October. However, this year was an exception; because of the bad weather conditions it was prospered to Sunday the 23rd.. Apparently the cleaning-prosses of the traditional clothing is quite expensive if the costumes happen to get wet, so no wonder they decided to postpone it.
Jidai Matsuri at Heian Jingu
So for those of you who haven't heard of Jidai Matsuri before I can tell you that it is, along with Aoi Matsuri and Gion Matsuri, actually one of the largest festivals in the city.
The parade itself is a display of various traditional Japanese costumes, from 794 when Kyoto became the Japanese capital, ending in 1868 with the Heian period after which the capital was moved to Tokyo (formerly know as Edo - 江戸). The festival is a celebration of Kyoto's many years as Japan's capital, and one can say that this also is why it is called Jidai Matsuri, or the Festival of Ages.
A lady dressed up like the famous authoress Murasaki Shikibu
The parade starts in the morning at the old Imperial Palace (Gosho 御所), and ends up at the Otenmon-gate at Heian Jingu shrine (平安神宮) more or less two hours later. Did you know that both Jidai Matsuri and Heian Jingu actually dates back to 1895? This is because Heian Jingu was built for the first Jidai festival, in honor of Emperor Kanmu.
I went to the Heian Jingu-shrine, which mentioned is the place where the parade ends, to watch the parade on Sunday. Here I met up with my friend Isabel, her husband and their friend Laura.
Since we were at Heian Jingu already at more or less 12:30 we were lucky, and could pick out some seats with a good view. The parade itself started at 12:00, but it took nearly two hours untill the parade ended up at Heian Jingu. It is still a good thing to be early though, cause trust me, at festivals like this it is essential to be in time; it will definitely get crowded..
Anyway, here are some of my pictures from the day:

Some fancy nobles
Apparently there are somewhere between 2000 and 3000 participants in the Jidai Matsuri..
...and there are definitely a lot of people in the audience as well..
Laura and Isabel :)
You can see all sorts of traditional clothing - and fancy hats - at Jidai Matsuri... :p
One of the Heian - ladies
Right in front of the Heian jingu shrine there was also held some performances during the festival
A mikoshi being carried through the gates of Heian Jingu

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Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me a comment or question below!
~Anette
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who'd gladly trade a trip to the shoppingmall for a hike in the forest any day.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette


The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff.
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