- Neighboring The Hotel Higashiyama, Awata Shrine is located in Awataguchi, one of the seven entrances into Kyoto, and it houses the protectorate god of the Shorenin Temple. The Awata Festival held every year in October has a history spanning more than 1,000 years, and the “Kenhoko” procession part of the festival is said to be the predecessor of the nighttime procession and Yamahoko floats during the Gion Festival.
- According to head priest Toshimichi Sasaki, “Kyoto strives to protect the rituals and traditions that have continued since the Heian times. For example, our Awata Festival began in 1001 as a festival for protecting the communities and their residents. At the same time, in order to ensure the festival continues to be held every year, it needs to evolve in line with the current era.”
- The “Awata Daitourou” ritual is a famous part of the Awata Festival during which huge lantern floats are paraded around the city.
- “Today, the floats are designed by students of Kyoto University of the Arts. It is this desire to protect the local festivals that enables us to continue holding the festival every year.”
- Previously, the lantern floats were stored in a separate location, but they will now be stored at The Hotel Higashiyama, which is built on the site of the old Awata Elementary School.
- It is wonderful to see how the traditions and culture of Kyoto are being passed down to future generations through the actions of the people who live and work in here. When visiting the Awata Shrine, you are urged by head priest Sasaki to enjoy the view of Okazaki from the grounds of the shrine.
Beauty of Kyoto in the words of Awata Shrine’s head priest
- Shinobu Nakai
- Makoto Ito