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Mitarashi Matsuri

御手洗祭(みたらしまつり)
Area North
Category Festival

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A growing number of people gather at the temple as night falls.  They come for the Mitarashi Festival, a foot-bathing ritual held each year over a four-day period around the Day of the Ox (which falls in the latter part of July on different dates depending on the year). The Ashitsuke Shinji, or ritual foot bathing, involves entering the Mitarashi pond on the grounds of the temple, lighting a candle at the altar and saying a prayer for good health. The purification ceremony was used by nobles during the Heian Period to cleanse themselves of any disgrace or wrongdoing, and gradually it spread among the common people. This World Heritage site is truly exceptional in the glow of candles and paper lanterns during the festival period, when Shimogamo Temple becomes the very symbol of summer.

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Vendors’stalls line the approach to the temple, heightening the festive atmosphere.

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The Mitarashi Festival continues during the day, as well, but nighttime provides the most atmosphere. The World Heritage site rises above the flickering light of candles like a vision from a dream, truly a sight to behold!

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(L) The approach to the pond, where one can hear voices crying out “Its cold!”
(C)The water is knee deep. Plastic bags to hold one’s shoes are sold at the entrance.
(R)Visitors light their candles and proceed on. Candles are sold at the entrance (200 yen).

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(L)There are several stations where one can light one’s candle, so the wait is not long.
(R)Here votives are lit as prayers for good health are offered.

Address 59 Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto, 606-0807, Japan
京都府京都市左京区下鴨泉川町59
Tel 075-781-0010
Open 5:30a.m. - 10:30p.m.
each year over a four-day period around the Day of the Ox (which falls in the latter part of July on different dates depending on the year).
Admission 200yen
URL http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/pg150.html
Access 1 minute walk from City Bus Stop Shimogamo-jinja Mae
10 minute walk from Keihan Demachiyanagi Station
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