Jidai matsuri was last weekend. Its a huge (2 hour long) procession of people in historical dress representing the whole history of Kyoto from the Meiji (ca 1920) back to the Keian times (ca. 740). The parade honors two Emporors, the one who moved the imperial line here to Kyoto in 794 (Emperor Kammu), and another Emporor (Emperor Kōmei) (more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jidai_Matsuri). Here is just a selection of some of the amazing costumes. There were 2 or 3 musical groups. One of them just sounded so cool to me, it was just flutes and drums, but it just transported you back in time. I wish I knew more about it. (the server isn't letting me upload the video now. I will try later). It is amazing to look now and see the backward progression of costumes.
At the end, there are 2 big carriers that contain the spirits of two of the important emperors from Kyoto: Emperor Kammu and Emperor Kōmei.
The evening before was the Karuma fire festival, which has been going on for hundreds of years. They light torches and carry them around for a while, and there is some big event at the main shrine (but we didn't see that part of it). It was absolutely pouring rain the whole evening but we found a little restaurant that ended up being in a great location. Here are a few photos of that, including the traditional dress for men. I think W wants me to get this outfit.