The three main rooms of Shinden (the residential quarters inside of Goten) all feature wall-paintings that depict one of the four seasons. On the left-hand side of the center room, the above painting can be seen depicting an autumn scene. The festival illustrated by the painting is Arashiyama’s Mifune Festival. Long ago, when Emperor Uda visited Arashiyama, the people of the area held an event on the river for him, and that event would eventually be the inspiration for Mifune Festival. The original event was in the fall, but now the festival is held by Kuruma-zaka Shrine in May. The festival is held on the 3rd Sunday of May, this year on the 15th. The festivities start at high noon at the shrine, and continue into the afternoon with a parade of people in Heian Period costumes and old-fashioned boats on the river. You can find more about the festival at the shrine’s website here.
After learning about Mifune Festival here at Ninna-ji, I think I’ll try to go this year. If you can’t make it to the festival in person, come to Ninna-ji to see the painting in Shinden for a taste of the festival any time of year!