Jidai Matsuri

Article by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus

Thu October 31, 2013 | 00:00 AM

There are a lot of really old rites and customs in Japan. Things that date back centuries and can be traced back to moments like when certain religions first arrived at the main island or some epic battle where warriors died valiantly. Jidai Matsuri is not one of these customs. In fact it only began in 1895 to celebrate the founding of the Heian Jingu Shrine and the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto as the capital, which is ironic since the seat of power had been transferred to Edo (Tokyo) in 1868. Despite it’s relative newness, the Jidai Matsuri is one of the three most renowned events that happen in Kyoto, and every October 22nd, people from around Japan (and the world) come to see it play out. More of a procession than a festival, the Jidai Matsuri finds a couple thousand participants parading through Kyoto clad in costumes representing all the important historical periods during which Kyoto was the capital.

Now that we got all that background out of the way let me just say that the event is a feast for the eyes and allows all attendees a close up look at what people wore over the many centuries of Japan’s history. Here are some examples.