Most viewed - Aoi Matsuri Festival 葵祭
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女903 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.802 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦753 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦685 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女662 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)483 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)443 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.413 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. 356 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.336 views
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Kawaii!!321 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.302 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代282 views
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Flower umbrella244 views
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High-ranking lady of the court229 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.219 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘216 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.201 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻192 viewsThe procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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Long line for the bus stop.185 views
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斎王代184 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女183 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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Flower umbrella179 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.176 views
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.175 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175 views検非違使志
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦170 views
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.169 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代169 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)169 views腰輿(およよ)
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵169 views
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All finish168 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.166 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.164 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻163 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人161 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使160 views
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.158 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.158 views騎女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.157 views騎女
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.155 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従154 views
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社150 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150 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.146 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!146 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発143 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.140 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.140 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.138 views賀茂祭
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女136 views
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With over 30 horses in the procession, this guy will be kept busy...121 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119 views下鴨神社

糺の森(ただすのもり)
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女別当112 views
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Ox carriage decorated with purple wisteria flowers.111 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.111 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通109 views
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Capping the festival is this horse running at Kamigamo Shrine. 走馬109 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.108 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.107 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.107 views
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This good horse stopped as signaled. But a few other horses just galloped past without stopping.106 views下鴨神社
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The ox carriage's traditional entourage includes a carpenter who repairs the carriage during the procession if necessary.104 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104 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace103 views
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Kawaramachi-dori 河原町通103 views
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The first ox carriage. 牛車103 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官103 views
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The Saio-dai's ox carriage called a gissha. 牛車102 views
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走馬102 views
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They have several horses running down the track at full speed. 下鴨神社101 views
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About 3:00 pm: The start of the procession begins with a police car.100 views鴨川沿いの加茂街道
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And mounted police.100 views
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Also see the video at YouTube. 走馬99 views下鴨神社
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The procession is about 1 kilometer long.98 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Norijiri horsemen. 乗尻98 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court 高級女官98 views高級女官
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斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)97 views
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It takes about an hour to see the entire procession go by.96 viewsWall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.
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Bridge to Shimogamo Shrine 出町橋96 views
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Main promenade of Kyoto Imperial Palace96 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96 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96 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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High-ranking court lady96 views
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Procession crossing over the Kamogawa River on the Misonobashi Bridge to Kamigamo Shrine. 御薗橋94 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人93 views
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Horse track at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社92 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92 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.92 views
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Norijiri horsemen leads the procession. 乗尻91 views
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High-ranking Lady of the Court90 views高級女官
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Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社89 views
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3:30 pm: The procession reaches Kamigamo Shrine. 上賀茂神社89 views
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Flower umbrella88 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87 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.86 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人84 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. 勅使84 views
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