Updated： July 19, 2017
Gion Matsuri: The Traditional Summer Festival in Kyoto!
One of the most popular, traditional and famous festivals in Japan is called Gion Matsuri, which is a summer festival held in Kyoto where they parade with Japanese traditional float called Yamaboko. Let's figure out more together!
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Gion Matsuri is a traditional festival that has been held every summer since 898. Started as a cure for epidemic plague that was widely spread all around Japan, now this festival is well known as a huge festival that happens throughout the month of July in Kyoto. It is Yasaka Shrine's annual festival! They parade public roads with decorated floats called Yamaboko.
Yasaka Shrine, located less than a 10 minute walk from Kawaramachi station.
The main part is Yamaboko Junkou (parade of floats), where they parade Nakagyo-ku and Shimogyo-ku with decorated floats. People come to watch Yamaboko Junkou from different parts of Japan and even from the world! It begins when "Shimenawa kiri" takes place, where chigo (children) cut the rope, on the 17th of July every year, leaving Shijo Karasuma area around 9 in the morning.
One of the special qualities of Yamaboko Junkou is that this is the only day where chigo (children around age 10) are on the float. As it is shown in the picture, when they come across Shijo Fuya-cho area, "Tsuji mawashi", a highlight of Yamaboko Junkou where they turn each intersection, takes place.
At night, their lanterns light up which makes their floats even more refined!
Below is the link that takes you to a map of Yamaboko Junkou route from Gion Matsuri's official website! It is also written in English.
From July 1st to 31st, 2017!
Just a heads up, during July, due to this huge festival, public transportation such as buses changes routes. Kyoto's summer is also boiling hot, so stay hydrated!
Looking for a place to eat around Kyoto?
Kyoto has lots of amazing restaurant that serves Kyoto cuisines and delicious traditional food. Check the link below for more information on restaurants in Kyoto! Let me just say this - everything in Kyoto will go beyond expectations. You will know when you read articles on Starbucks in Kyoto!
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