Sweet little Mao-chan. I hope to see her again during the main procession on May 15.
Aoi Matsuri is the festival of the 2 Kamo shrines, Shimogamo and Kamigamo. It was once believed that Aoi flower (hollyhock) would protect against natural disasters. This is one of the "big three" festivals in Kyoto with Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri.
The main event is a procession held on May 15 with several characters dressed in costumes from the Heian court. One of the main character, the Saio-dai is a woman who represents purity. These pictures were taken during a "purification ceremony" (saio dai misogi no gi) at Shimogamo on May 4.
Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto 2011
Women accompanying the Saoi-Dai