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Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace: The first ox carriage waits for the procession to start.The ox carriage is called a gissha.

京都御所
牛車
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.Do bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻The procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発The procession is ready to depart.
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.
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No. 4 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-sakan 検非違使志検非違使志
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No. 3 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-jo 検非違使尉検非違使尉
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The procession basically consists of two columns: The Hon-retsu which includes the procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. It consists of men. The second and longer column is the Saio-dai-retsu consisting of women.
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.
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The Aoi Matsuri (Festival) used to be called Kamo-sai, after the name of the two shrines which hold the festival.賀茂祭
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使
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The Aoi Matsuri started in the early Heian Period in the 8th century as a national or state-sponsored event.
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May 15, the day of the procession, is the festival's climax. However, there are other festival-related ceremonies and events before this day.
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.There's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘Flowers are artificial.
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従
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Flower umbrella
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.
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High-ranking lady of the court
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦
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斎王代
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)腰輿(およよ)
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The Saio-dai Princess in 2005 was Saito Ayako, a 21-year-old Kyoto native and student at Doshisha Univ. Her 12-layer juni-hitoe kimono weighs 30 kg. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)The Saio-dai Princess is selected every year in April and a press conference is held to announce who was chosen. She is always a native of Kyoto, single, and in her early 20s. The Saio-dai was first incorporated in the festival in 1956. In 2005, she is the 50th Saio-dai.

Read more about here.
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The Saio-dai Princess is the main figure of the procession. She represents the Imperial princess who worked at the Kamo Shrine and served in the Aoi Festival during the Heian Period.腰輿(およよ)
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女They escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女
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With over 30 horses in the procession, this guy will be kept busy...
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.
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The procession is about 1 kilometer long.Wall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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It takes about an hour to see the entire procession go by.Wall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial PalaceUnless you get here early, it is very difficult to get a good place to take pictures. This promenade is the most popular place for photographers. It is most scenic because there are no distracting buildings.
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通
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Bridge to Shimogamo Shrine 出町橋
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵
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11:50 am: The procession reaches Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社Shimogamo Shrine has a very elongated shrine grounds, with a long straight path to the shrine hall.

糺の森(ただすのもり)
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Saio-dai Princess passing through Shimogamo Shrine's Tadasu no Mori forest promenade. 斎王代、糺の森(ただすのもり)にて下鴨神社

糺の森(ただすのもり)
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社The public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.
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Horse track at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社
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They have several horses running down the track at full speed. 下鴨神社
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Also see the video at YouTube. 走馬下鴨神社
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This good horse stopped as signaled. But a few other horses just galloped past without stopping.下鴨神社
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The procession departed Shimogamo Shrine at 2:20 pm to head for Kamigamo Shrine up river. People here waiting for the procession along the Kamogawa River. 鴨川沿いの加茂街道鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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About 3:00 pm: The start of the procession begins with a police car.鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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And mounted police.
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Norijiri horsemen. 乗尻
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Norijiri horsemen leads the procession. 乗尻
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The first ox carriage. 牛車
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Ox carriage decorated with purple wisteria flowers.
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘These flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Flower umbrellaThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Flower umbrellaThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官高級女官
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High-ranking Lady of the Court高級女官
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官
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Kawaii!!
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斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)
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She wears a juni-hitoe kimono and rides in a carriage called Oyoyo. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん (21)腰輿(およよ)
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Also see my photos of the Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession here. The procession ultimately went to Saiku, near Ise Grand Shrines in Mie Prefecture where the Saio princess served.
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.
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High-ranking court lady
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女別当
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The Saio-dai's ox carriage called a gissha. 牛車
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The ox carriage's traditional entourage includes a carpenter who repairs the carriage during the procession if necessary.最高位の女官が乗る女房車という牛車
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.
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Procession crossing over the Kamogawa River on the Misonobashi Bridge to Kamigamo Shrine. 御薗橋
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3:30 pm: The procession reaches Kamigamo Shrine. 上賀茂神社
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Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社
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Horses going to the starting point to run down the track between the two toriis at Kamigamo Shrine.
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Capping the festival is this horse running at Kamigamo Shrine. 走馬
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走馬
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Whoa!
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All finish
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Long line for the bus stop.
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Line at the bus stop. The buses did not come so frequently. So I just walked back to the nearest subway station.
   
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