KYOTO--City authorities here produced manga in both Japanese and English that give the lowdown on the Aoi Festival, one of three major annual events for which Kyoto is renowned.

Officials said 9,000 copies in Japanese are being distributed to elementary, junior and senior high schools as well as universities in the city, while 1,000 in English will be available for foreign tourists who visit the historic city May 15 when the festival is held.

The manga features three characters who already decorate city subways and buses as mascots--Moe Uzumasa, Saki Matsuga and Misa Ono.

The three female characters detail the history of the festival and various events associated with it, such as the traditional "yabusame" ritual, in which galloping horsemen shoot arrows at targets.

The manga, which is also available online, goes on to explain the purification ceremony for the Saiodai, the principal figure of the May 15 parade, when she will be borne aloft on a palanquin to lead a procession in Heian Period (794-1185) costume through the streets of Kyoto.

The English version of the manga can also be viewed on computers and smartphones by accessing the website at (