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Kyoto's three famous festivals and the Gozan Fire Festival Icon Kyoto's three famous festivals and the Gozan Fire Festival

Aoi Festival


Aoi Festival
Date: 15 May

This festival is also known as the Kamo festival, and is held at both the Kamigamo and Shimogamo Shrine. The origin of the festival dates back to the time of the Kinmei Emperor (approximately 1400 years ago). The grain at the time was not ripening, and this was seen as a curse from the Kamo-god. A horse was made to run with bells attached, and an abundant harvest resulted. This tradition continued unbroken, and came to be celebrated on a grand scale from the Fujiwara era.
The name of the Aoi Festival originated from the tradition of offering geraniums (aoi) to the gods, and decorating the temple, attendees and ox carriages with geranium leaves. Wearing elegant costumes of the Ocho era, the refined charm of the envoy and public servants parading through the city represents old-style Kyoto.