Aoi Festival | Japan | Living in Mexico

Aoi Festival

Spring weather in Kyoto is frequently rainy, and when it rains, one of Kyoto's famous events, the Aoi Festival, is frequently not held. For this reason, the festival was not listed on our itinerary, even though we were going to be in Kyoto on May 15, when it normally is held. We would not have been disappointed if we had not been able to see it, because we would not even have known about it. Clever guys, our tour leaders.


It came as a total surprise, and I must say, it was over the top. We saw hundreds of old costumes and antique objects.


The festival began during the reign of the Kinmei Emperor some 1400 years ago, during a ceremony to improve the grain harvest. Having been successful, the ceremony since has been continued to this day, becoming ever more elaborate over the centuries.


For most people, the most visible part of the festival is a parade through Kyoto, composed of people dressed in ancient costumes. Andy and Steve had arranged for a block of front-row seats along the parade route—ideal for photography.


For more images of the parade and of people in ancient clothing, check out this flickr photoset.