Aoi Matsuri is a Japanese festival that dates back to over a thousand years ago. It was a time when Kyoto was called Heian-Kyo, and was the capital of Japan. Considered a zenith of art and literature in Japanese history, it was during this time that Murasaki Shikibu wrote Tale of Genji (the world's first popular novel.) For the festival, men, women and children dressed in beautiful costumes of the Heian era, walk or ride horseback through the streets of Kyoto in a graceful procession. The procession starts at Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 in the morning, and walks along Kawaramachi Street to Demachiyanagi, where it stops at Shimogamo Shrine. At the shrine, some of the young men engage in yabusame (horseback archery) which is very exciting to watch. After that the procession continues to its final destination, Kamigamo Shrine.