Kyoto Shimbun 2013.10.22 News

Festival of Ages
Gorgeous Historical Picture Scroll in Ancient Capital's Autumn

On October 22, one of Kyoto's three main festivals, "Jidai Matsuri," or Festival of Ages, was staged throughout Kyoto City. The roughly two-kilometer-long procession with about 2,000 people, who were dressed in costumes of each era ranging from the Meiji Restoration to the "Heian Sento," or relocation of the ancient capital to Kyoto in the Heian Period, paraded through the streets of the ancient capital in autumn, unfolding like a picturesque scroll of history.

At 9:00 a.m., the portable shrines carrying the deities of Emperors Kammu and Komei headed for Kyoto Gyoen National Garden in Kamigyo Ward, from Heian Jingu Shrine in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto.

According to the Kyoto Local Meteorological Observatory, the temperature was 22.4 degrees Celsius under a cloudy sky. The highlight "Jidai Gyoretsu" procession departed from the Kenrei-mon Gate of the Kyoto Imperial Palace at noon. The procession was headed by loyalists of the Meiji Restoration accompanied by airily played flutes and drums.

A trip back through the ages.

The unique movements of samurai servants called "Yakko-buri" in the "Tokugawa Joshi Joraku-retsu," or the procession of the Tokugawa Shogunate's messengers going to Kyoto, which mainly consists of magnificent palanquins, drew laughter from the audience. The multilayered "Junihitoe" kimono worn by Princess Kazunomiya and the novel costume worn by "Izumo no Okuni," or the woman known as the founder of Kabuki, in the "Edo-jidai Fujin-retsu," or the Edo Period women's procession, attracted a lot of attention. A string of warriors from the Warring States, Muromachi, and Kamakura Periods, such as Nobunaga Oda, Ashikaga Shogun, Masashige Kusunoki, and others, was followed by women dressed in costumes of the Heian Period, which showed the transition in fashion style from Chinese to Japanese. When the majestic and magnificent procession with the credibility of historical background research moved forward, enthusiastic applause erupted from the audience lining the streets.

The Festival of Ages was inaugurated in 1895, the year that Heian Jingu Shrine was established, in celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto as the national capital. The procession has been cancelled ten times due to war and other events. This year marks the 109th festival.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= The Festival of Ages procession marches through Kyoto Gyoen National Garden with loyalists of the Meiji Restoration at the head (October 22, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto)