Jidai Matsuri, a bridge to time travel

Jidai Matsuri

Every year on October 22, a unique portal to travel back in time opens in Kyoto. Known as Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of Ages, the event is a spectacular procession showcasing the eight different eras of Japan’s history from the Meiji Restoration (around 1868) to Enryaku period (782-806) in reverse chronological order. 2,000 Kyoto citizens and school children proudly take part in the procession representing noted historical figures throughout the ages, in what would have been their traditional costumes, garb and armoury of the time. In total, more than 12,000 period costume and ceremonial items created by Kyoto artisans bring authenticity, colour and life to the past, with each era within the procession providing a unique time capsule to experience the unfolding de-evolution of Japan’s changing fashions, culture, influences and history.

The spectacle is impressive: over the course of two hours, the parade covers kilometres from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Heian Jingu Shrine and is a brilliantly assembled procession of 2,000 members including 70 horses, 2 oxen, and numerous carriages.

Reserved seating (for a fee) at the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Oike-dori Street, and along Heian Jingu-michi Street is recommended for the best view of the procession. Reserved seating with English guidance (for a fee) is also available exclusively on Oike-dori Street.