here is a brief history of our old capital of japan: kyoto as capital city was founded on october 22nd , 794 and the era reigned by emperor kammu and komei is called “heian 平安”. kyoto had been the imperial capital for 11 centuries until the imperial family moved to tokyo. the jidai matsuri reflects kyoto’s colourful history. the main attraction is a long procession, representing the eras dating back to the heian period from the meiji period. so, the festival also offers a bit of a history lesson to history-illiterate spectators like me. i cannot remember the names of key figures at all, though. there were too many emperors and shoguns (generals) who reigned over kyoto for 11,000 years.
the people in richly coloured historical costume all walked in the procession along sanjo-dori and moved towards heian jingu. unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that cheerful for kyotoites and tourists to celebrate the special day. it became a drizzly afternoon by the time when the procession was to leave the starting point. i worried over their wet silk kimonos. spectators on the pavement had to hold their umbrellas as the procession passed by. as for me, my mother, our relatives and their friends who gathered for the festival, luckily my mother’s family house fronts on to the street so that we could watch the pageant from the window wide open, sitting on comfy chairs just like a box seat at the opera.