Kyoto Summer – Things to Do in Kyoto in Summer
Is it summer already? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Kyoto in summer.
It’s summer, it’s hot, what to do in Kyoto? Don’t worry about it, our detailed guide to all things to do in Kyoto in summer will help you out no end! From traditional ceremonies and events, to drinking and dining, we’ve got it all.
Kameoka Peace Festival Fireworks
Kameoka, a city 30 minutes west of Kyoto, declared itself a “city of world peace” on the 7th of August 1995. To commemorate this event, a fireworks festival is held each year. Join in with the giant dance festival and prayer sessions, then at night, marvel at the 5,000 fireworks lighting up the evening sky.
Start time: 8pm
Ukai Cormorant Fishing in Arashiyama
Ukai is a traditional Japanese fishing method using Cormorant (large diving birds). You can watch the event from the bank or grab a seat besides one of the fishermen!
Address: Tenryuji Saga Ukyo-Ku Kyoto City
Price: 1,800 yen per adult, 900 yen (4-12 years old)
Start time: 7pm until 9pm
Temple and Shrine Summer Events
Tanabata Star Festival at Kifune Shrine
For the Tanabata Festival, revellers dress in traditional garments and make wishes by tying long strips of paper to bamboo. This event is a great taste of local traditions and the lighting up of the bamboo at night makes it even more of a spectacle.
Price: free entry
Opening time: from 9am to 5pm
Special Night-time Opening at Kodai-Ji Temple
Every summer, Kodai Temple offers special night-time opening in memory of Hideyoshi, its founder. Every corner of Koda is illuminated beautifully. Not to be missed.
Price: 600 yen per entry
Start time: 9:30 pm
Kyoto Summer Attractions
Summer Night Time Opening at Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Enjoy the atmosphere of ancient Japan by dressing in kimono and watching some ninja films at this TV studio come amusement park. Expect crowds, but they’re worth it!
Price: 1,500 yen for adults, 1,000 yen (13-18), 800 yen(3-18)
Opening hours: 5 to 9pm (in august)
Kawadok Riverside Dining
Kibune is a mountain village north of Kyoto. In summer, the area is well known for its unique Kawadoko restaurants that give you the opportunity to eat on wooden platforms on top of the Kibune river. An excellent experience.
Price: around 10,000 yen (depending on what you order)
Opening time: 11:30am-2pm
Traditional Kyoto Ceremonies
Bamboo Cutting Ritual at Kurama Temple
The bamboo cutting ritual at Kurama Temple, located in the northern part of Kyoto, honors the guardian of the sacred waters that flows around Kurama. The ceremony, in which two teams of monks compete to fell a bamboo tree, takes place every year on June 20th.
Start time: 2pm (it’s recommended to come early)
Nagoshi no Harae
Nagoshi no Harae, a simple ritual to celebrate the arrival of summer, takes place on June 30th in almost every Kyoto shrine. It is all about admiring the beauty of the Japanese landscape and contemplating nature.
Date: June 30th
Price: Free entry
Tentoku-in Temple, built in the 14th century, is known for its bellflower garden. With flowers stretching as far as the eye can see, this is a beautiful spectacle of nature. Also, check out the bellflower shaped temple.
Price: 500 yen
Opening hours: 10am-4:30pm
Rozan-Ji Temple is famed as the former residence of Lady Murasaki Shikibu (Heian-period court officer and author of the famous novel, ”The Tale of Genji”). When the temple’s garden is in bloom, white gravel, green moss and purple bellflowers make for a beautiful sight.
Price: 500 yen
Opening hours: 9am-4am
Summer Eating and Drinking
Miyagawa-Cho Beer Garden with Maiko and Geiko
Miyagawa-Cho Kaburenjo is a theater and home to a special summer beer garden open until late August. Enjoy a drink and watch some traditional performances by Maiko and Geiko – what could be better?
Price: 5,000 yen/person with free drinks and side dishes (cash only)
Opening hours: 6-7:30 or 8-9:30; Closed Aug. 15-16, (Tel: 075-561-1151 for reservations)