Kyoto events, Kyoto night view, Kyoto nightlife

Best 7 Guide to Must-See Events in Kyoto May 2018 (w/Photos)

Kyoto is a sightseeing destination that is particularly popular amongst overseas travelers. Kyoto is the old capital of Japan and is a place where you can feel the history and traditional culture of Japan. There are numerous attractions, including historical architecture, such as temples and shrines; nature; art; and cafes, where you can taste the flavors of Kyoto. In this article, we’ll spotlight May events in Kyoto.

Historical and Cultural Events

1. Ginkakuji (Jishoji) “Spring Special Exhibit” March 15, 2018 through May 6, 2018


source: flickr

Ginkakuji is one of Kyoto’s most renowned temples. Ginkakuji comprises Togudo, a monument of shoinzukuri (a style of residential architecture), and the 2-story Kannonden; both structures are national treasures. The temple grounds also contain a garden landscaped with a mound of white stones. The temple is called Ginkakuji (“gin” means silver) because there were plans to cover the Kannonden with a silver lining. The temple was certified as a World Heritage Site in 1994, as part of a collection of cultural assets in Kyoto. Ginkakuji’s main hall and national treasure, Togudo, and Roseitei will be opened to the public this spring. The main hall houses the Shakamunibutsu statue and sliding doors decorated with paintings by renowned artists like Yosabuson and Ikenotaiga. Togudo, which was the epicenter of Higashiyama culture, contains the Amidara Nyoraizo statue and Roseitei also has beautiful sliding doors that were crafted by Genso Okuda, a renowned Japanese painter. Check out the various artifacts during your visit.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

March 15, 2018 through May 6, 2018
10:00-16:00 (reception is open until 15:30)

Access and Address

・Location
Ginkakuji (Jishoji)

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
10-minute walk from “Ginkakuji-michi” bus stop
・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
45 minutes by train and foot from Kyoto station

・Address 2 Ginkakuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Special admission: 1,000 yen
*General admission: high school students and older 500 yen, middle and elementary school students 300 yen

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.shokoku-ji.jp/

2. Mibudera Special Spring Exhibit of Private Cultural Assets in Kyoto April 28, 2018 through May 6, 2018


Mibudera is a Buddhist temple located in Mibu, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi. The temple is famous for hosting performances of Dainenbutsu Kyogen (a kyogen performance to spread Buddhist teachings), an act developed by Enkaku Shonin, who helped revive the temple during the middle ages. Another highlight is the small island on the pond (located on the east side of Mibudera), called mibuzuka, where the graves of Shinsengumi members are located. Shinsengumi were armed forces that fought in the Boshin War from 1868. The area has ties to Shinsengumi, whom used the area as practice grounds for martial arts and artillery training. In the spring, temple treasures that are usually closed-off to the public, such as the Honzon Jizobosatsu statue (important cultural asset), which is kept in the main hall, and Ressenzu Byobu (important cultural asset), painted by Hasegawa Tohaku, will be on display. Additionally, the Japanese garden, one of the famous sights of Kyoto, will be opened to the public. Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

April 28, 2018 through May 6, 2018
9:00 – 16:00

Access and Address

・Location
Mibudera

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
3-minute walk from “Mibudera-michi” bus stop

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
20 minutes by bus and foot from Kyoto station

・Address 31 Mibunaginomiya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Adults 800 yen; middle and high school students 400 yen

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.kobunka.com/

3. Kawadoko of Takao Early April 2018 through Late November 2018


source: Goo Blog

Kawadoko (temporary platforms that are built on top of rivers) in Kyoto are typically open from early April through late November; people seated on the kawadoko have a view of fresh greens in the spring, fireflies in the summer, and fall leaves in the autumn and kawadoko are people’s seasonal pastime from spring through fall. You can savor seasonal flavors on the kawadoko of Kiyotaki River, while cherishing the surrounding nature of Kyoto. According to stories, the custom of kawadoko began when a tea house placed a bench near a river, so that customers can dip their feet in the river and cool down. Eventually, the tea houses started to serve food and evolved into the kawadoko it is today. There are 2 ways to read the kanji characters for kawadoko: it’s read kawayuka in Kamogawa and kawadoko in Kibune and Takao. Numerous establishments in Takao offer kawadoko dining with restaurants serving different types of food. Dine in the lush greenery of Takao for a luxurious experience.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

Early April 2018 through late November 2018

Lunch: early April through late November; dinner: early June through late September

Access and Address

・Location
Takao

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
15 minutes by car from Hanazono station on JR Sagano Line

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
30 minutes by train and car from Kyoto station

・Address Umegahata Takao-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Varies by store. Some restaurants may require reservations

Official Website

None

Traditional Festivals

4. Fushimi Inari Taisha Inari Festival April 22, 2018 through May 3, 2018


source: flickr

There are inari shrines across Japan, but the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto stands at the top of 30,000 inari shrines. The shrine grounds contain hallowed buildings, called the shaden and setsumatsusha, and the enshrined god of harvest and prosperity is worshipped by surrounding citizens. The countless, orange torii gates that stand over the path leading from the main hall to the back shrine are called “senbon torii”. The Inari Matsuri is held annually at Fushimi Inari Taisha and lasts 2 weeks. It’s a big festival that has a 1,000-year-old history. Various rituals and performances will be on show during the festival. The highlight is the 5 mikoshi (portable shrines) that will be lifted by local worshippers and paraded around the town. The mikoshi parade will be on May 3rd and the parade will traverse the surrounding areas for 2 hours and then return to the shrine. The elegant spectacle will resemble one from the historical scrolls and is a must-see.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

April 22, 2018 through May 3, 2018

April 22 Shinkosai/11:00 onwards
April 29 Parade within the ward/13:00 onwards
May 3 Kankosai/16:00 onwards

Access and Address

・Location
Fushimi Inari Taisha

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
5-minute walk from Fushimi Inari station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
15 minutes from Kyoto station on foot and train on Nara Line
・Address 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://inari.jp/

Nature Events

5. Okazaki Cherry Corridor Illumination and Jikkokubune Cruise March 24, 2018 through May 6, 2018


source: Mirunavi

Okazaki is a cultural hotspot with attractions like Heian Jingu, Rohm Theatre Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and Miyako Messe. In Okazaki, you can see a stunning spectacle of nighttime cherry trees at the cherry tree corridor, which runs along the Biwako canal. Alternatively, you can board the jikkokubune, a traditional cruise boat, which operates day and night. A row of cherry trees grows along the canal and, at peak bloom, the area is packed with visitors looking to board the cruise boat. The combination of cherry trees with the jikkokubune makes for an elegant and refined experience. Additionally, various events are scheduled at the local zoo and cultural facilities at the same time, so there will be plenty to see. This event will allow you to enjoy and experience springtime Okazaki to the fullest. Participate in events organized in the historical townscape of Kyoto and you’ll get the most out of your trip to Kyoto.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)
March 24, 2018 through May 6, 2018

Cherry Corridor Illumination
March 30 – April 10/from 18:00 to 21:30

Jikkokubune Cruise
March 24 – May 6
Departures from 9:30 to 16:30 (depending on circumstances, the last departure may be pushed back to 17:30)

Cruises during the Cherry Corridor Illumination
Departures from 8:00 to 20:30 *Schedule dates/hours may be pushed back depending on blooming conditions

Access and Address

・Location
Okazaki area alongside the Biwako canal

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
7-minute walk from Keage station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
20 minutes by foot and train from Kyoto station

・Address Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Viewing the trees at the Cherry Corridor Illumination is free

Reservations are not required

Jikkokubune Cruise
Adults (middle school students and older) 1,200 yen; elementary school students 600 yen; infants (3 years and older) 300 yen; babies 2 years old and younger board for free (no seat)
*108 yen processing fee required for pre-sale online tickets

Official Website

http://www.kyoto-okazaki.jp/

6. Shinryoku Illumination “Spring Nighttime Illumination” April 21, 2018 through May 6, 2018


source: Kyotrip

Hosen-in is known for the “Gakubuchi Tei-ein” in Ohara, Kyoto. Illuminations will light up the fresh greenery in the garden. An otherworldly scene, unique to the back-mountain environment, will unfold with music and aromas also featuring alongside the illuminations. Visitors will experience a surreal and elegant night. Hosen-in is a historical temple that was established in 1012. From spring until early summer, you can see cherry trees, rhododendrons, and sal trees; from the fall, you’ll spot balloon flowers, red spider lilies, and vivid autumn foliage. Also look out for the chitenjo or “blood ceiling”, which uses wood-flooring from Fushimi Castle. The garden also has a Japanese white pine, which is said to be over 700 years old. The tree has been certified as a natural monument by Kyoto city. The fan-shaped tree measures 11m high and the branches span 11.5m vertically and 14m horizontally. If you think of the building columns as a frame, the gakubuchi tei-en or picture frame garden will look like a painting. Keep an eye out for this spectacle if you visit the temple.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)
April 21, 2018 through May 6, 2018
18:00 – 21:00 (reception closes at 20:40)

Access and Address

・Location
Hosen-in
・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
15-minute walk from “Ohara” bus stop

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
1 hour and 20 minutes by train, bus, and foot from Kyoto station

・Address 187 Oharashorin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

General 800 yen; middle and high school students 700 yen

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.hosenin.net/

Contemporary Art Events

7. Sanyo Shinkansen: Evangelion Project Final Chapter “500 TYPE EVA Exhibit” February 9, 2018 through May 6, 2018


source: flickr

Evangelion is a Japanese animation that’s also popular around the world. 500 TYPE EVA is a bullet train that runs on the Sanyo Shinkansen and is designed with an Evangelion theme. This train is scheduled to stop running in May 2018. In honor of this train, an exhibit is scheduled at the Kyoto Train Museum to showcase the 500 TYPE EVA project. The exhibit will display Kaiyodo-brand figures and original drafts of 500 TYPE EVA that were drawn up by Ikuto Yamashita, who designed the train exterior. The event will also have a photo spot. From February 24 through May 7, the front carriage of the 500 type shinkansen that is on display in the 1F “How Trains Work” section will be wrapped like the 500 TYPE EVA. From March 17 through May 7, the miniature, 8-carriage 500 type shinkansen in the 2F “Train Diorama” section will be decorated like the 500 TYPE EVA. This is a must-see event for anime enthusiasts.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)
February 9, 2018 through May 6, 2018
10:00 – 17:30 (last entry is 17:00)

*Closed Wednesdays (open if it falls on a holiday or on March 28, April 4, or May 2)

Access and Address

・Location
Kyoto Train Museum 2F Exhibit Room

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
20-minute walk from Kyoto station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
20-minute walk from Kyoto station

・Address Kankiji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admission is required
General 1,200 yen; university and high school students 1,000 yen; middle and elementary school students 500 yen; infants (3 years old and older) 200 yen

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.kyotorailwaymuseum.jp/event/

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