In preparation of the Shimogamo shrine’s main festival, the Aoi Matsuri that takes place on May 15th, an archery event, the Busha-shinji, brings archers attired in traditional samurai armor into the Tadasu-no-mori, the wood about the shrine. Nearby, priests assemble at the Mitarashi River for the Misogi-no-gi, the preparatory rite of the Aoi Festival. In this ceremony, members of the Ogasawara-ryu School of Archery shoot arrows to a target representing evil and bad spirits, to drive them away.
We were able to get a nice spot to see the ceremony and take a few photos, but for this, we arrived more than an hour before the planned starting time for the ceremony. Many other photographers came even earlier!
Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
Web (in English): http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/english.html
59 Izumigawa-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku
10 min walk from Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan line
Opening hours: 6.30am-5pm