Aoi Matsuri, which is also known as the Hollyhock Festival, is one of the most important and oldest festivals in Kyoto. It celebrates the two Kamo shrines of Kyoto—Kamigamo and Shimogamo, and takes place on May 15th every year. The name of the festival comes from Futaba Aoi, which means hollyhock in Japanese. It is a majestic symbol of the festival, and all people, animals, and belongings are decorated with beautiful Aoi leaves and flowers.
The main highlight of the festival is the grand parade, where 500 men and women partake by dressing like nobles in royal and traditional costumes dating back to the Heian period. The route starts at the Kyoto Imperial Palace, through the Shimogamo Shrine and finishing at the Kamigamo Shrine.
During the procession, you will enjoy the sounds of unique instruments and melodies belonging to the Heian era, imperials carts (gosho guruma), men on horseback, women's traditional kimonos, decorated oxen and much more.