Seasonal activities associated with the twelve months of the year have been a favorite subject for Japanese painters and poets since the Heian period. The activities focus on popular festivals and excursions to scenic places in and around the capital, which formed the nucleus of the lives of Kyoto citizens and provided them with endless diversions.
Each of the twelve paintings in this set of scrolls is preceded by a long explanatory text. The first month features children's ball games, battledore and shuttlecock, and Manzai dancers. The second month shows a visit to Inari Shrine on the first "horse" day, when large and small ceramic cups are sold. The third day of the third month is represented by the annual cock fight in the Seiryoden at the imperial palace. The fourth month features an excursion to enjoy the famous wisteria at Katata, in Otsu City. The fifth day of the fifth month is Boy's Day. The sixth month features the Gion Festival and the seventh the Bon Festival dances. In the eighth month the special event is moon viewing at Hirosawa Pond in Kyoto. A chrysanthemum-viewing party at the palace is on the schedule for the ninth day of the ninth month. Maple-viewing at Takao is associated with the tenth month, and the Ohitaki festival with the ritual burning of sasa trees takes place in the eleventh month. End-of-the-year housekeeping activities characterize the twelfth month.