Most viewed - Aoi Matsuri Festival 葵祭
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女831 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.750 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦704 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦639 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女615 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)408 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)399 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.393 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. 321 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.292 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.259 views
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Kawaii!!250 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代239 views
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High-ranking lady of the court207 views
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Flower umbrella202 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.198 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘173 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻170 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.167 views
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Long line for the bus stop.165 views
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斎王代164 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女162 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.155 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155 views検非違使志
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代149 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦149 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)149 views腰輿(およよ)
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All finish148 views
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵145 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.144 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.143 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻142 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人141 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使140 views
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Flower umbrella138 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.137 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.137 views騎女
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.136 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.136 views騎女
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.134 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従134 views
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.132 views
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社130 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130 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.126 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!126 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発122 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.120 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.120 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.118 views賀茂祭
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女115 views
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With over 30 horses in the procession, this guy will be kept busy...101 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99 views下鴨神社

糺の森(ただすのもり)
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女別当92 views
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Ox carriage decorated with purple wisteria flowers.90 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.90 views
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Capping the festival is this horse running at Kamigamo Shrine. 走馬89 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.88 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通87 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.87 views
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This good horse stopped as signaled. But a few other horses just galloped past without stopping.86 views下鴨神社
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.86 views
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The ox carriage's traditional entourage includes a carpenter who repairs the carriage during the procession if necessary.84 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84 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace83 views
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The first ox carriage. 牛車83 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通82 views
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走馬82 views
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They have several horses running down the track at full speed. 下鴨神社81 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官81 views
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The Saio-dai's ox carriage called a gissha. 牛車81 views
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About 3:00 pm: The start of the procession begins with a police car.80 views鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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And mounted police.80 views
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Also see the video at YouTube. 走馬79 views下鴨神社
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The procession is about 1 kilometer long.78 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Norijiri horsemen. 乗尻77 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官77 views高級女官
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It takes about an hour to see the entire procession go by.76 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Bridge to Shimogamo Shrine 出町橋76 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace76 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76 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76 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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High-ranking court lady76 views
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斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)75 views
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Procession crossing over the Kamogawa River on the Misonobashi Bridge to Kamigamo Shrine. 御薗橋74 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人73 views
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Horse track at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社72 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72 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.71 views
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Norijiri horsemen leads the procession. 乗尻70 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court69 views高級女官
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Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社69 views
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3:30 pm: The procession reaches Kamigamo Shrine. 上賀茂神社68 views
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Flower umbrella67 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67 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.66 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人64 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使64 views
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