Aoi Festival Returns to Kyoto after Pandemic Hiatus

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Some 510 people wearing costumes of the Heian period (794 to late 12th century) walk along a tree-lined path in Kyoto as part of the Aoi Festival. The festival is one of the three major festivals of Kyoto and was held for the first time in four years. In front of the Kenreimon gate of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the procession was viewed by the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita. Among the train was the festival’s heroine, known as the Saio-dai. Company employee Haruna Matsui, 29, filled the role this year. “I want to serve with a smile until the end,” she said.