Last additions - Aoi Matsuri Festival 葵祭
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使Apr 21, 2006
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人Apr 21, 2006
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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Norijiri horsemen leads the procession. 乗尻Apr 21, 2006
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従Apr 21, 2006
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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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Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻Apr 21, 2006
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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Apr 21, 2006
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.Apr 21, 2006
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Apr 21, 2006
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All finishApr 20, 2006
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Long line for the bus stop.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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Capping the festival is this horse running at Kamigamo Shrine. 走馬Apr 20, 2006
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走馬Apr 20, 2006
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3:30 pm: The procession reaches Kamigamo Shrine. 上賀茂神社Apr 20, 2006
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Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社Apr 20, 2006
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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Apr 20, 2006
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.Apr 20, 2006
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Whoa!Apr 20, 2006
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The Saio-dai's ox carriage called a gissha. 牛車Apr 20, 2006
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High-ranking court ladyApr 20, 2006
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Horses going to the starting point to run down the track between the two toriis at Kamigamo Shrine.Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.Apr 20, 2006
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Procession crossing over the Kamogawa River on the Misonobashi Bridge to Kamigamo Shrine. 御薗橋Apr 20, 2006
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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女別当Apr 20, 2006
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斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.Apr 20, 2006
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Apr 20, 2006
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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)Apr 20, 2006
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Kawaii!!Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女Apr 20, 2006
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官Apr 20, 2006
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Flower umbrellaThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.Apr 20, 2006
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官高級女官Apr 20, 2006
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Flower umbrellaThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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High-ranking Lady of the Court高級女官Apr 20, 2006
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The first ox carriage. 牛車Apr 20, 2006
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.Apr 20, 2006
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人Apr 20, 2006
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Ox carriage decorated with purple wisteria flowers.Apr 20, 2006
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And mounted police.Apr 20, 2006
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Norijiri horsemen. 乗尻Apr 20, 2006
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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Apr 20, 2006
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Also see the video at YouTube. 走馬下鴨神社Apr 20, 2006
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This good horse stopped as signaled. But a few other horses just galloped past without stopping.下鴨神社Apr 20, 2006
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Apr 20, 2006
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社The public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.Apr 20, 2006
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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Apr 20, 2006
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They have several horses running down the track at full speed. 下鴨神社Apr 20, 2006
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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)
Apr 20, 2006
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通Apr 20, 2006
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通Apr 20, 2006
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Horse track at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社Apr 20, 2006
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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)
Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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The procession is about 1 kilometer long.Wall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.Apr 20, 2006
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Bridge to Shimogamo Shrine 出町橋Apr 20, 2006
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It takes about an hour to see the entire procession go by.Wall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.Apr 20, 2006
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial PalaceApr 20, 2006
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With over 30 horses in the procession, this guy will be kept busy...Apr 20, 2006
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.騎女Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女They escort the Saio-dai Princess.Apr 20, 2006
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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)Apr 20, 2006
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.騎女Apr 20, 2006
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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.

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Apr 20, 2006
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女釆女Apr 20, 2006
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斎王代Apr 20, 2006
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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)Apr 20, 2006
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦Apr 20, 2006
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦Apr 20, 2006
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦Apr 20, 2006
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代Apr 20, 2006
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High-ranking lady of the courtApr 20, 2006
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.Apr 20, 2006
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代Apr 20, 2006
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Flower umbrellaApr 20, 2006
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘Flowers are artificial.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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The Aoi Matsuri started in the early Heian Period in the 8th century as a national or state-sponsored event.Apr 20, 2006
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使Apr 20, 2006
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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Apr 20, 2006
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.Apr 20, 2006
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals held on May 15. The Aoi Matsuri's colorful procession of over 500 people in Heian-Period costumes start off at the Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace and head for the Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines. Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所: The first ox carriage waits for the procession to start. The ox carriage is called a gissha. 牛車Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
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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.Apr 20, 2006
   
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