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Jidai Festival

Every year on October 22, Jidai Matsuri (時代祭り, the Festival of Ages) is conducted in Kyoto. The festival is a historical reenactment parade in which people get dressed in authentic costumes representing various periods and characters in Japanese feudal history. All costumes and equipment, amounting to ten thousands of items, are master pieces by Kyoto artisans of Japanese traditional crafts.

The two biggest attractions are the procession of renowned ladies of the Heian (平安時代婦人列) and the Edo (江戸時代婦人列) periods, in which Maiko (舞妓) and Geiko (芸妓) from Gion (祇園), Ponto-cho (先斗町), and Miyagawa-cho (宮川町) districts, disguise themselves as Sei-shonagon (清少納言, the author of Makurano-soshi), Murasaki-shikibu (紫式部, the author of The Tale of Genji), or Kazunomiya (皇女和宮, a princess in the late Tokugawa Shogunate). The splendor of the processions gains a huge popularity.

The interesting thing is: both Sei-shonagon and Kazunomiya are dressed in Juni-hitoe (十二単, a set of the most formal female attire consists of twelve layers), and the hair styles and the manners of dressing are different from each other according to the period. It is fun to discover the difference.

The procession of Fujiwara period (藤原公卿参朝列) represents the Bukan (武官, military officers) and the Bunkan (分官, bureaucrats) of the Imperial court in the era. Those official costumes are also interesting to see.

Now you see that the festival is really authentic and historically accurate. As a huge Kimono (着物) lover, I myself am truly looking forward to see the festival.

Click here to see the Blog by a Former Maiko, “Do You Know?”