Saturday, July 11, 2009
Aoi Matsuri is the annual festival of Kamigamo and Shimogamo Shrines. It ranks as one of the three major festivals of Kyoto along with Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri. It was held on a large scale during the Heian Period (794-1191) and many references to the festival are found in The Tale of Genji (first Japanese novel) and other ancient chronicles.
The festival takes its name from the custom of decorating the procession participants and the bulls which are used to pull the carts with hollyhock (aoi) leaves. The procession leaves from the Imperial Palace to make the rounds of Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines.