Most viewed - Aoi Matsuri Festival 葵祭
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女840 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.756 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦710 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦645 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女621 views
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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)416 viewsThe 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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She wears a juni-hitoe kimono and rides in a carriage called Oyoyo. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん (21)404 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.395 views騎女
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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. 323 viewsKyoto 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
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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.297 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.264 views
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Kawaii!!258 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代244 views
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High-ranking lady of the court209 views
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Flower umbrella207 views
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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.200 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘178 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻172 viewsThe procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.170 views
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Long line for the bus stop.167 views
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斎王代166 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女164 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.157 views
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No. 4 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-sakan 検非違使志157 views検非違使志
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代151 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦151 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)151 views腰輿(およよ)
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All finish150 views
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵147 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.146 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.145 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻144 views
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Flower umbrella143 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人143 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使142 views
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.139 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.139 views騎女
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.138 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.138 views騎女
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.137 views
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.136 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従136 views
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社132 viewsThe public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.
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No. 3 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-jo 検非違使尉132 views検非違使尉
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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.128 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!128 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発124 viewsThe procession is ready to depart.
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The Aoi Matsuri started in the early Heian Period in the 8th century as a national or state-sponsored event.122 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.122 views
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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.120 views賀茂祭
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女117 views
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With over 30 horses in the procession, this guy will be kept busy...103 views
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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101 views下鴨神社

糺の森(ただすのもり)
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女別当94 views
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Ox carriage decorated with purple wisteria flowers.92 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.92 views
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Capping the festival is this horse running at Kamigamo Shrine. 走馬91 views
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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.90 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通89 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.89 views
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This good horse stopped as signaled. But a few other horses just galloped past without stopping.88 views下鴨神社
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.88 views
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The ox carriage's traditional entourage includes a carpenter who repairs the carriage during the procession if necessary.86 views最高位の女官が乗る女房車という牛車
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使86 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace85 views
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The first ox carriage. 牛車85 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通84 views
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走馬84 views
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They have several horses running down the track at full speed. 下鴨神社83 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官83 views
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The Saio-dai's ox carriage called a gissha. 牛車83 views
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About 3:00 pm: The start of the procession begins with a police car.82 views鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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And mounted police.82 views
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Also see the video at YouTube. 走馬81 views下鴨神社
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The procession is about 1 kilometer long.80 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Norijiri horsemen. 乗尻79 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官79 views高級女官
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It takes about an hour to see the entire procession go by.78 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Bridge to Shimogamo Shrine 出町橋78 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace78 viewsUnless 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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11:50 am: The procession reaches Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社78 viewsShimogamo 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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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘78 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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High-ranking court lady78 views
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斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)77 views
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Procession crossing over the Kamogawa River on the Misonobashi Bridge to Kamigamo Shrine. 御薗橋76 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人75 views
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Horse track at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社74 views
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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74 views鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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Horses going to the starting point to run down the track between the two toriis at Kamigamo Shrine.73 views
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Norijiri horsemen leads the procession. 乗尻72 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court71 views高級女官
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Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社71 views
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3:30 pm: The procession reaches Kamigamo Shrine. 上賀茂神社70 views
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Flower umbrella69 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女69 views
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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.68 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人66 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使66 views
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