Kyoto is one of the most pleasant places to visit in Japan. From the mysterious geisha practices to some of Japan’s most renowned temples and shrines, Kyoto really has something for everyone. The region is also home to a number of events and festivals you must experience if you are thinking of taking a trip to Kyoto. This month, the Setsubun celebrations at Yasaka Shrine and the Kyoto Marathon, a couple of the major events in Kyoto, bring character and liveliness to the area!
Here are some fantastic events happening in Kyoto in February!
Although a year-round attraction, there will be a month-long discount on tickets to see this traditional dance for cheaper in February. This is also a good chance to try some local cuisine, with many different traditional Kyoto foods being available in the area. For more about Kyoto cuisine, check out our article, What to Eat in Kyoto!
Dates: January 31st ~ February 28th, 2020
Time: Starts at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm (From December till the second week of March, performances will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays only. Performance duration is about 50 minutes.)
Location: Gion Corner
During an early February trip to Kyoto, you should take the time to go down to the Setsubun Festival at the Yasaka Shrine. Setsubun is a characteristically Japanese festival in which the attendees throw dried soybeans at the “demons,” driving evil out and welcoming good fortune for the year. It's certainly a fun spectacle for people new to Japan and pickled veterans.
Dates: February 2-3, 2020
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Yasaka Shrine
While it's another Setsubun event, the celebration at Heian Jingu Shrine is not one you want to miss out on. Expect a traditional performance that includes big fires and rituals. This is a perfect event for those who are looking for more traditional activities to round out their list of things to do in Kyoto. Note that 4:00 pm is when the bonfire starts. This temple is not so far from Kyoto Central Station which means you could end your day with a visit to Kyoto's Gourmet Street or Kyoto Ramen Street.
Dates: February 3, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Heian Shrine
Known as Star Festival in English, this festival is focused around huge bonfires and traditional ritual rites. A fantastic and quintessentially Kyoto festival, this would be a fantastic addition to your trip to Kyoto. The practitioners of this Buddhist tradition believe that the stars influence your destiny; in Japanese this is called Mikkyo Senseijyutsu, a type of Agon Buddhist fortune telling.
Date: February 3, 2020
Time: 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Agon Shu Main Temple
The annual Kyoto Marathon is scheduled for this February! It’s a fantastic spectacle with Japanese street food, and various entertainment to highlight the main event. If you’re well prepared and physically fit, look below for the URL to participate in this event.
Dates: February 14-15, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020: 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday, February 15, 2020: 10:30 - 7:00 pm
The Hyakumanben Tedukuri Ichi is a local street market where you can sample handmade Kyoto foods and local crafts. With a warm and friendly atmosphere, this would be a great location to make your trip to Kyoto feel special and authentic. Located around the stunningly beautiful setting of the Chionji Temple, you won't want to leave this one out when planning your trip.
Dates: February 15, 2020
Time: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Chionji Temple
Design Week is back again! A very unique opportunity to take part in classes and workshops, here you are able to learn traditional, beautiful crafts directly from the locals and expats of Kyoto. This one is great for those looking for ways to make their Kyoto experience their own, and who would like the opportunity to create beautiful, original pieces.
Dates: February 22 ~ March 1, 2020
Time: Based on event
Price: Based on event
Location: Several locations
The Baikasai Plum Blossom Festival is a characteristic Kyoto festival where you have a chance to see the blooming plum cherry blossoms and a number of Maiko and Geisha performances. One of the most quintessentially Japanese things you will see all year!
Dates: February 25, 2020
Time: 10 am – 3 pm
Location: Kitano Tenmango
For those of the otaku persuasion, the anime/manga fan club Cosjoy will be hosting several events in February at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Enjoy the cafe’s foods and one of the world’s biggest collections of anime!
Dates: February 9, 23, 24, 2020
Time: 10 am-5 pm
Price: 1000 yen (with concessions for children, members etc.)
Location: Kyoto International Manga Museum
February offers some great spring festivals and offers mild temperatures and stunning views, so taking a trip to Kyoto during this month would be well worth your time. As long as you bring a few extra layers, Kyoto at this time of year is a beautiful and engaging experience full of traditional and modern events, enough to make anyone want to buy their ticket!