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Monthly Highlight Archives

Every month, we present one event highlight and/or their respective venues. Here is a collection of all our previous event highlights, from the "Big Three Kyoto Festivals" to ancient shrines and great museums. Note that details like dates, times, and places mentioned below may be outdated and not correct anymore. Please check our main event calendar for current information!

Top 12 Festivals in Kyoto

2017 - Top 12 Traditional Festivals in Kyoto

2017 marks the first year of the What's up in Kyoto event calendar. Here, we presented the Top 12 Traditional Kyoto Events that not even the locals would want to miss. These traditional events often go back several centuries and have survived to the present day virtually unchanged. These events are free of charge and often draw large crowds of spectators, so if you'd like to be as close as possible to the action, we recommend to be about one hour early to secure your spot in the first row. Click the images below to learn more about each event.

Hatsumode

First Shrine Visit in January

Setsubun

Ousting the Demons in February

Hina Matsuri

Doll Festival in March

Hanami

Cherry Blossoms in April

Aoi Matsuri

First "Big 3 Event" in May

Nagoshi-no-harae

Purification in June

Gion Matsuri

Second "Big 3 Event" in July

Obon

Returning Ancestors in August

Jugoya

Moon Viewing in September

Jidai Matsuri

Third "Big 3 Event" in October

Momijigari

Blazing Maples in November

Joya-no-Kane

Ringing the Bells in December

Top 12 Shinto shrines in Kyoto

2018 - Top 12 Shinto Shrines and Events in Kyoto

Japan's ancient Shinto religion is still a part of everyday life, and shrines of all sizes with their vermillion torii are ubiquitous, even in the biggest cities. There are countless festivals that are celebrated in a unique way at every shrine in the country. Out of the hundreds of shrines in Kyoto, we picked the Top 12 Kyoto Shrines that are among the oldest in Japan. Some are popular and can get very crowded during big festivals, while others still have a very local and quiet feeling. What they have in common are the exciting traditional events that are taking place there throughout the year. Click the images and find out more.

Yasaka Jinja

At the Heart of Gion

Yoshida Jinja

Tucked Away Under the Trees

Kifune Jinja

At the Source of the Stream

Heian Jingu

Majestic in Okazaki

Matsunoo Taisha

Protected by the Mountain

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Photogenic Southern Beauty

Shimogamo Jinja

Cool in the Forest

Umenomiya Taisha

Surrounded by Gardens

Yasui Konpira Gu

Hidden Gem in Gion

Nonomiya Jinja

Amidst the Bamboo

Jonangu

Five Garden Styles

Kitano Tenmangu

Within the Plum Orchard

Top 12 private museums in Kyoto

2019 - Top 12 Exclusive Museums in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to hundreds of museums that showcase the fantastic beauty created in more than 1000 years. In 2019 -- perfectly in tune with ICOM 2019 -- we asked 12 Private Kyoto Museums to introduce us to their exclusive collections. Marvel in the wonderful art and exquisite craftsmenship that you will not be able to find outside of Japan. Click on the masterpieces below and find out more.

Note: Most museums in Japan are closed on Mondays, but are open during the weekends and on public holidays. Especially in smaller museums like the ones featured here, you may have to take off your shoes. In Japan, it is considered quite rude to enter a building barefoot, so please do bring socks to wear inside, even in summer.

Raku Museum

450 Years of Family Tradition

Folk Doll Museum

Not Just Child's Play

Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum

Meiji-Era Fine Arts

Netsukekan

Little Accessories for Men

Namikawa Cloisonné Museum

Delicately Detailed

Insho Domoto Museum

Homage to Creative Genius

Kawai Kanjiro's House

An Artist's Home and Workshop

Shibori Museum

Ancient Art of Tie-Dyeing

Hosomi Museum

Focus on Rinpa

Furuta Oribe Museum

Master of Tea Ceremony

Saga Arashiyama Museum

A Poetic Retreat

Orinasukan

Living Nishijin Textile Tradition

Top 12 event venues in Kyoto

2020 - The Top 12 Event Venues in Kyoto

With the Tokyo Olympics 2020, there are many reasons to go out in the evening, hopefully to celebrate rather than to drown your sorrows. Whether you want to party or not, here are the Top 12 Kyoto Event Venues where you can enjoy music, dance, theater,... both traditional and contemporary Japanese or with international roots and performers. Click the logos below and find out more.

UrBANGUILD

Multidisciplinary Art Space