logo of whats up in Kyoto
Event Calendar
Experiences Shopping Sleeping Getting Around Submit Event
Highlight of the Month Monthly Highlights - Archives Experiences Restaurants - Japanese Restaurants - Vegan/Vegetarian Shopping Sleeping Getting Around Submit Event

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 Note that details like dates, times, and places mentioned below may be outdated and not correct anymore.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!

2017 - Top 12 Traditional Festivals in Kyoto

Top 12 Festivals in Kyoto

2017 marks the first year of the What's up in Kyoto event calendar. 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. All of them 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

2018 - Top 12 Shinto Shrines and Events in Kyoto

Top 12 Shinto shrines in Kyoto

In 2018, 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.
Out of the hundreds of shrines in Kyoto, we picked the Top 12 Kyoto Shrines, many of which date back to Kyoto's founding 1300 years ago. Explore their precincts and gardens, pray to the kami they enshrine and buy a goshuin - proof of your visit to the shrine. And if you come at just the right time, you may take part in one of the countless festivals that are celebrated in a unique way at each of the shrines. Some of the shrines below are popular and can get very crowded during big festivals, while others still feel local and quiet at all times. Click the images to 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 Torii and Foxes

Shimogamo Jinja

Cool in the Forest

Umenomiya Taisha

Surrounded by Water Gardens

Yasui Konpiragu

Hidden Gem in Gion

Nonomiya Jinja

Amidst the Bamboo

Jonangu

Five Styles of Garden

Kitano Tenmangu

Favoured Plum Trees

2019 - Top 12 Exclusive Museums in Kyoto

Top 12 private 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 craftsmanship 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 bring socks to wear inside, even in summer.

Raku Museum

450 Years of Family Tradition

Insho Domoto Museum

Homage to Creative Genius

Folk Doll Museum

Not Just Child's Play

Orinasukan

Living Nishijin Textile Tradition

Namikawa Cloisonné Museum

Delicately Detailed

Netsukekan

Little Accessories for Men

Kawai Kanjiro's House

An Artist's Home and Workshop

Saga Arashiyama Museum

A Poetic Retreat

Shibori Museum

Ancient Art of Tie-Dyeing

Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum

Meiji-Era Fine Arts

Hosomi Museum

Focus on Rinpa

Furuta Oribe Museum

Master of Tea Ceremony

2020 - Top 12 Event Venues in Kyoto

Top 12 event venues in Kyoto

In 2020 we highlighted places to spend a fun evening. But instead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Covid19 came to visit... We hope that there again will be plenty of time and reasons to go out in the evening, hopefully to have fun 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

Live Spot Rag

Hot Live Music Venue

Kanze Noh Theater

Centuries of Tradition

TakuTaku

45 Years (A)Live