A major procession and festival in Kyoto will be held on May 15 after a three-year suspension amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The "Roto no gi" parade of the Aoi festival, one of the city's three main festivals, will return this year at a pre-pandemic scale, according to its organizers.

Aoi festival parade in May 2019.

Some 500 participants dress in traditional Heian period costumes for the procession and march from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Kamigamo shrine. Along the way, the "Shato no gi" ceremony is held at the Shimogamo shrine, in which the messenger of the Emperor offers gifts to a God.

Prior to the parade, the star of the show called Saio-Dai will be purified in the "Misogi no gi" ceremony at the Kamigamo shrine on May 4. During the procession, the Saio-Dai wears the "junihitoe" formal court dress, which literally means 12 layers of kimono.

The Aoi festival is said to date back to the sixth century.

The Kyoto Shimbun

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