January 4th is the KEMARI day in Shimogamo jinja.
The origin of KEMARI could be traced back to the period when Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Today, in Shimogamo shrine, shinto priests dressed up in Heian noblemen's costumes, such as Suikan** along with Hakama*** and Eboshi****, play KEMARI with a white ball made of deerskin (please refer to the picture below).
The point of KEMARI is not to win the game but not to drop the ball on the ground. Considering how to pass the ball so that the receiver can easily pass the ball to the next, they play KEMARI with full of grace. I guess Heian noblemen must have had a lot of fun.
In Kyoto, so many traditional activities are held throughout the year. Next time why don't you come see the Heian world in YUMEYAKATA Kimono? That can bring you a lot of fun even more!
Shimogamo Shrine: http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/
3 mins on foot from Shimogamo Jinja Mae, Kyoto city bus
KEMARI*: a type of football played by courtiers in ancient Japan
Suikan**: everyday garment worn by nobles in ancient Japan
Hakama***: formal divided skirt
Eboshi****: a type of headgear worn by nobles in court dress