Spirits from traditional folklore will once again take over Taishogun Shotengai for the night.

As the former capital of Japan, Kyoto has many festival throughout the year that celebrate Japan’s history and traditional culture. There’s one coming up this weekend, as a matter of fact, the Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo.

Ichijo is a neighborhood of Kyoto, located in the northwest part of the downtown area, and yagyo translates as “night procession.” The event is no stately procession of kimono-clad historical reenactors, though, because the Hyakki part of Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo translates as “100 demons,” and this is a parade of yokai, the spirits and monsters of Japanese folklore.

▼ Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo

Drawing inspiration from Japanese ghost stories in which yokai would amass and run amok after sundown, the Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo was first held in 2005 and took place every year in the Taishogun Shotengai shopping street, located near Kitano Hakubaicho Station on the Randen Kitano Line. Costumed participants continued to gather every October until 2020, when the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and again in 2021. The Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo returned in 2022, but hit a snag again in 2023 as its growing popularity led to crowd control concerns.

Organizers considered moving the event elsewhere, but ultimately decided to try to keep it in the Taishogun shopping street, which has come to be known as Yokai Street and where many businesses decorate their storefronts with yokai figurines and artwork. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign to secure necessary finances for crowd control measures, Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo is set to once again be held in its traditional venue on April 20.

Over the course of an hour, the yokai walk the procession route four times, starting at its west end and heading east before making a U-turn and doubling back, and then repeating the process. Because of this, spectators are asked to refrain from following the yokai, since as long as you’re in position when the parade starts, you’ll get to see the creatures four times just by staying put. Also, at each end of the route a Yokai Art Market will be held with a variety of yokai-themed art and accessories on offer from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo yokai parade is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., and the Yokai Art Market stalls will be open from 5 to 9 p.m.

Source: Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo official website, Kyoto City, Japan Times
Top image: Ready For
Insert images: Ready For, Ichijo Hyakki Yagyo official website
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