A Symbol of the Enterprising Spirit and Restoration Technology of Kyoto, the Jidai Matsuri is a Historical Picture Scroll
Known nationwide, the Festival of Ages (Jidai Matsuri) is the major festival of the Heian Jingu Shrine, and one of the three large festivals conducted in Kyoto. Started in 1895 as part of a commemorative project to celebrate the construction of the Heian Jingu Shrine and the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital to Heian-kyo (the present-day Kyoto), the festival is held on October 22, the day the Emperor Kammu moved the capital to Heian-kyo. Participants dress up as historical figures that were prominent in the history of Kyoto, such as Saigo Takamori, Sakamoto Ryoma, Oda Nobunaga, and Murasaki Shikibu. This costume parade displays the customs and culture of the Enryaku Period (782 - 806) through the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912). In the beginning the procession was formed of 6 files and about 500 people, but now it has grown to 20 files covering 20 time periods. Further, the women of the 5 geisha groups in Kyoto take turns running the female files in the procession, so the entire procession has become 2 km long, with about 2,000 participants. The most distinctive feature of the Festival of Ages is the fact that the festival is run by the citizens of Kyoto city. In addition, the more than 12,000 items employed in the procession, furnishings, costumes, and festival instruments, etc., have all been investigated to verify their historical accuracy, and the quintessence of more than one thousand years of traditional Kyoto art and craftsmanship has been employed in the restoration of these items. The unique procession that comprises the Festival of Ages is the result of the pride and spirit of Kyoto and it can be said that this procession "could be produced by no other city." The power of the people of Kyoto and their intense desire for the "Restoration of Kyoto" has opened a living scroll depicting the past ages of Kyoto.
Meiji Restoration Period
(reign of Emperor Kammu)
The arrow symbol shows the procession course of the Festival of Ages (Jidai Matsuri) as it leaves Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace at noon.
Kyoto Gosho - in front of the Kenrei-mon Gate
Sanjo Jingu-mae St.
Heian Jingu Shrine
The time shown is for the head of the procession.
The procession travels about 4 km, and as the entire procession is about 2 km long, it takes about 2 hours for the procession to pass any of the points along the course.