Maiko Tomitsuyu of Gion Higashi dancing at the Heian Shrine Reisai Annual Festival, Kyoto

This is the most important annual event of the Heian Jingu Shrine. It is meant to celebrate the accession ceremony day held in 781 of Emperor Kanmu who is the deity of the shrine. 
On April 16th, various ceremonies are held including dances by maiko and geiko from four Kagai or geisha districts. In addition, it is a good opportunity to see Koto and “Gagaku” or traditional court music, and other demonstrations. 

As the festival is quite popular, I was advised to arrive early. The presentation starts at noon and some photographers do arrive before 8 am. I took my chances and arrived around 11:30. Still, I was able to get a fairly good position with a good angle to capture some photos of the stage. 

The best location to photograph this festival is probably way back, behind the seats, but on a small ladder and with a long telelens.  Here are a few photos of the beautiful maiko dancing.