Ato-Matsuri / Gion Festival Digital Map

Ato-Matsuri / Gion Festival Digital Map thumbnail

This project is a collaboration between the Kyoto Newspaper, a local newspaper, and Stroly, a digital map platform from Kyoto.This festival, which has been held in Kyoto for more than 1,000 years, is the result of a great variety of cultures and histories that have been interwoven into the festival to this day. The Gion Festival is famous for the Yamahoko and Yamahoko Junko floats, which are deployed in the city center for only a few days, but in fact, related events are held throughout the city of Kyoto during the month of July every year. The Gion Festival is such a unique festival, and one of its charms is that there are 100 different ways to enjoy it for every 100 people. We hope that this Gion Festival Digital Map will enrich your stay and experience in Kyoto.

update date: 2024.05.16

このマップ(地図)を見る

Number of spots : 22spots

  • Kitakannon-yama Kitakannon-yama Yama list

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    Used to alternate with Minamikannon-yama This float and Minami-Kannon Yama of the neighboring block had alternately participated in the procession every other year from the Onin-no-ran Battle in the 15th century until around 1864. No other yama or hoko floats participated biyearly in the procession. The images of "Yoryu Kannon" (the Goddess of Mercy) and "Idaten" (a guardian deity) are enshrined on the float. As it is not a hoko float, Kita Kannon Yama has "shin-matsu" (a pine tree) instead of a mast-like wooden pole called "shingi". The two pine trees are delivered from Narutaki, the northwestern area of Kyoto. Kita-Kannon Yama and Minami-Kannon Yama draw lots for the pine trees to decide which will belongs to which float. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 19 Hikizome:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Taka-yama Taka-yama Yama list

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    Made a full return in 2022 after 196 years This Yamahoko float was in existence prior to the Onin War, but it stopped participating in the procession after 1827 due to heavy rain and fire damage. Its drapes and other items were also destroyed in 1864 by a fire. There are only a dozen or so remaining items, including the bells and the statue head of the deity enshrined on the float. Aiming for comeback to the "Ato-Matsuri" procession in 2022, a troop of musicians was organized in 2014. From 2019, they will participate in the procession carrying a Chinese-style chest. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 18 Hikizome:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Suzuka-yama Suzuka-yama Yama list

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    Based on Suzuka Toge, the hardest point of the old Tokaido route The old Tokaido route, which connected the old capital area with the eastern area, ran through Suzuka Yama. One of its chokepoints, Suzuka Toge had many steep paths. Due to this, the area has plenty of historical and notorious episodes as merchants were often attacked by gangs of robbers which may later have been transformed into the Oni, or ogres, of folklore. The Suzuka Yama float features the myth about the Goddess of Suzukayama, Suzuka Myojin (Seoritsuhime-no-Mikoto), who exterminated the Oni. The figure of the Goddess on the yama looks gallant in her Tate-eboshi (a headdress for men), holding a long Naginata or pole sword. The yama has a tapestry on the front, called Hyaku Sennin Tuzuranishiki Maekake, which depicts camels traveling in the desert. The Maekake tapestry was renewed in 1989 for the first time in 220 years. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Jomyo-yama Jomyo-yama Yama list

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    An eye-catching acrobatic figure The Jyomyou Yama catches the eye with its acrobatic figures. The yama depicts a historic event when a monk warrior, Ichirai Hoshi, leaped over a monk warrior of the Miidera Temple, Jyomyou, on the Uji Bridge to lead the vanguard at the Uji River Battle. Although it's difficult to maintain the strength to have one figure fixed on the other on the bumpy floats, this one skillfully solves the problem by connecting the upper and lower figures with a wooden support. People endearingly address the upper and lower figures as "Uesama" and "Simosama" respectively. The body armor of Jyomyou, which was made in the Muromachi era (between the 14th to 16th centuries), is designated as one of the Important Cultural Property of Japan. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Ennogyoja-yama Ennogyoja-yama Yama list

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    One of the largest floats, featuring numerous figures The En-no-Gyoja-yama and the Suzuka Yama are from the northernmost Yamahoko-Cho (the towns that keep the floats). The main figure of the float is En-no-Gyoja who has been popular through the ages because he was a practitioner of Shugen-do as well as a doctor for the common folk. There are three figures on the yama; the figure of En-no-Gyoja is seated between the Hitokotonushi God and the Katsuragi Goddess who have the faces of Oni or ogres. The relationship among them is not known exactly, however, the float originates from the folklore that En-no-Gyoja used the Oni to build a bridge between Mt. Omine and Mt. Katsuragi. This yama is one of the largest floats as it has more figures than most on it. Also, only the En-no-Gyoja Yama has two vermilion-lacquered umbrellas. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Koi-yama Koi-yama Yama list

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    Maekake and Miokuri tapestries made in Belgium in the 16th century In 1992, the Koiyama Hozonkai renewed the yama's front tapestry, Maekake, for the first time in about 400 years. A reproduction of the rear tapestry, Miokuri, was made the previous year. Both are 16th century Belgian-woven tapestries, which depict characters and scenes from Greek epics. These tapestries are designated as one of the Important Cultural Property in Japan, and these are the most precious ones of all the floats. The Koiyama float is the only one that features fish instead of people from the legend that a carp will become a dragon if it successfully runs up the Ryumon (dragon gateway) waterfall. The yama float has a vividly curbed wooden carp that looks as if it energetically splashes water. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 19 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Hashibenkei-yama Hashibenkei-yama Yama list

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    Capturing Benkei in the moment of raising a Naginata pole sword The figures on this float depict a scene from a very famous story in Japanese history: "Ushiwaka-maru", a young samurai boy, lightly jumped up onto the round-shaped decoration on the handrail of the Gojo Bridge in central Kyoto, while "Benkei", a big monk-warrior in armor, tried to swing down his pole sword against the boy. The figure of Ushiwaka-maru standing only on the front supports of his clogs still creates a lasting, lively impression, and it is hard to believe that the figure was made 500 years ago. As its order in the procession is fixed (kuji-torazu) among all the carried floats and it has neither "yamakago" nor "shin-matsu", it is considered to be one of the oldest yama floats. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 21 Hikizome:July 21 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Hachiman-yama Hachiman-yama Yama list

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    Two doves, the symbol of Hachiman-san, placed on a torii gate It is a wonder that the Iwashimizu Hachiman God participates in the festival for the Gods of Yasaka-shrine. It is, however, evidence of how deeply people in bygone days believed in the Hachiman God. The splendid gold gilt shrine is said to have been made in the Tenmei period (1781-1789) of the late Edo era. Two adorable pigeons, messengers of the Hachiman God, are placed on the Kasagi bar of the front Torii gate. The yama storehouse keeps the painting, Gion-e Yamaboko Junko-no-zu, drawn by Kaihoku Yusetsu, an Edo era painter, and displays it at the house on Yoiyama, the eve of Gion Festival. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 20 Hikizome:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Kuronushi-yama Kuronushi-yama Yama list

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    Otomo-no-Kuronushi looking up cherry blossoms in Shiga The cherry blossoms and pine trees displayed on the Kuronushi Yama create a spring-like atmosphere. The yama depicts a scene from a famous Yokyoku (Noh song), "Shiga", where one of the Roku Kasen (six great poets in the early Heian era), Otomo-no-Kuronushi, enjoyed beautiful cherry blossoms in Shiga. The figure of a silver-haired old man with a topknot holding a cane has the appearance of a graceful aristocrat. After losing their Cho-ie (neighborhood association hall) to fire, it was rebuilt as a five-storied building which is used as the neighborhood association hall only during the Gion Festival. This far-sighted idea became a conversation topic. Artificial cherry blossoms which decorate the yama are used as lucky charms to ward off bad luck from houses. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Minamikannon-yama Minamikannon-yama Yama list

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    With the Yoryu-Kannon and Zenzai-Douji statues placed in As a legend says, "The Kita Kannon Yama is a man, while the Minami Kannon Yama is a woman. Praying for safety of the next day's parade, the Divinity of the Minami-Kannon Yama practices 'Abare Kannon Gyo (where the Kannon statue is swung like a miniature shrine in the midnight parade)' at midnight on the Gion Festival Eve, Yoiyama." Thus the Minami-Kannon is also known as "Abare-Kannon". The statutes of Yoryu-Kannon and Zenzai-Doji are placed on the yama float. The Yoryu-Kannon is said the leader of the 33 Buddhist Goddesses of Mercy or Kannon. She transforms herself into a human figure holding a willow branch and relieves suffering people as Yakushi-Kannon does. Wearing a Buddhist surplice, or kesa, on the head, the Yoryu-Kannon sits cross-legged on the yama float. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Yamatate:July 18 Hikizome:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Ofune-hoko Ofune-hoko Hoko list

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    Participated with its float in 2014 for the first time in 150 years The Ofune-hoko float used to be called "Gaisen-Fune Hoko," meaning "a triumphal float." The float was unable to participate in the parade after its destruction in the great fire of the Hamaguri Gomon Incident in 1864, but the float community continued to perform the "Imatsuri" ceremony, or exhibition of the deity figure of Empress Jingu and gorgeous drape decorations for 130 years. Although the ceremony was temporarily suspended due to members' aging and a labor shortage, "Hayashikata," or festival musicians, was revived in 1997 by younger members. In 2006, "Kazari-seki," or a special stage to display the drape decorations, was resurrected in the float's hometown, and the float's procession comeback was made with a "Karabitsu," or a kind of legged, covered chest, in 2012. In 2014, the Ofune-hoko float, reproduced in its original style, rejoined the festival for the first time in 150 years. INFO 【Location】 Google Maps 【Schedule】 Hokotate:July 18 Hikizome:July 20 Yoiyama:From July 21 Yamahoko Junko:July 24,from 9:30 【 Website 】 Official website (Japanese) What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • A quiet Gion Festival #1 A quiet Gion Festival #1 Column

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    Behind the scenes of the cancellation of the Junko and Togyo processions What was revealed by peeling back the grandeur During the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, the Gion Festival was held, but without the famous Yamahoko Junko procession. This special year of the festival was reported on from the various perspectives of a novelist, a poet, a photographer, and a journalist. Kyoto is quieter this summer. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the city to cancel the spectacular Yamahoko Junko procession, which is the highlight of the Gion Festival, as well as the preceding Yoiyama events that draw nearly a million visitors. There is no Gion Bayashi music, which features the characteristic "con chiki chin" sound, and no stirring Mikoshi Togyo procession of portable shrines, which has become more widely known in recent years. However, the Gion Festival itself is not canceled. The flamboyance is gone this year, but Kyoto is filled with prayers, as always. The Mikoshi-arai-shiki ceremony purifies the Nakagoza (center), one of the mikoshi portable shrines used in the Gion Festival. In usual years, the Nakagoza is carried to the Shijo-Ohashi bridge and purified there. This year, however, due to the cancellation of the Mikoshi Togyo procession, purification was conducted inside the mikoshi-ko, a portable shrine storage house. (At Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, on July 10, 2020) The Gion Festival is a festival of Yasaka Shrine, which is located in Higashiyama Ward. It started in the Heian period (794–1185) as a prayer to drive away plague from the capital. Various rituals are held throughout the entire month of July in the parish area of Shimogyo, Nakagyo, and Higashiyama wards in Kyoto City, where shrine worshipers live. With a history of over 1,000 years, the Gion Festival can be said to be Japan's largest festival in terms of size and extravagance, as well as history. It consists of two main parts: yama float events and mikoshi rituals, with the spectacular yama floats particularly recognized worldwide. There are a total of 33 yama floats in neighborhood associations in the Nakagyo and Shimogyo wards, and another is currently being assembled with the aim of returning to the procession for the first time in 196 years. Three representatives of the Naginatahoko Hozonkai preservation society visited Yasaka Shrine as part of the Osendo-no-Gi ceremony. It usually invites Naginata-hoko float's sacred child and kamuro child attendants as well, but the cancellation of the procession meant there were no such attendants this year, so only preservation society board members participated in the ceremony. They prayed inside the main shrine, walked around it three times, then placed their hands together. (At Yasaka Shrine on July 1, 2020) The floats appear only in July every year. They are assembled on the street, without the use of nails, by instead fastening wood with ropes, and parade through the Shimogyo and Nakagyo areas on July 17 and 24. Since they are decorated with imported tapestries and metalwork that rich Kyoto merchants of old would compete to purchase, they are also referred to as "moving museums." Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was forced to cancel its most magnificent and stirring parts this year. People involved in the festival had felt conflicted before it was finally held. Shinyosui water is used to purify the mikoshi portable shrines. After being purified, the water is placed in the maidono pavilion in front of the main shrine until the Mikoshi-arai-shiki ceremony that night. (At Yasaka Shrine on July 10, 2020) The Shinyosui water that is used to purify the mikoshi Shigekatsu Minoura Joined The Kyoto Shimbun in 1996. Covering religion, he has for many years written stories mainly about shrines, temples, and traditional events in Kyoto and Shiga. He is currently on the editorial board. He was a member of Shukyo Kisha Kai, a religion press club, which is said to exist only in Rome and Kyoto. *This article was published on July 13, 2020. *This article is partially published with permission from the Kyoto Shimbun. (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • A quiet Gion Festival #2 A quiet Gion Festival #2 Column

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    Even without a procession of floats, there were men in ceremonial garb Men in ceremonial kamishimo outfits at Shijo Street in central Kyoto. Even without the spectacular Yamahoko Junko procession this year, people in neighborhoods that are home to yama floats were seen maintaining their traditions. Kippu-iri ceremony and Kiyoharai purification of the Ayagasa-hoko float. These were carried out at the neighborhood's Ohara Shrine. (On July 1, 2020) Photo by Keisuke Mizusawa The usual Japanese word for float, "dashi," is not used for the floats in the Gion Festival. They are called "yama" and "hoko." ”Hoko" refers to a two-story float with four wheels that weighs about 10 tons. In the center of each hoko float is a wood pole that is more than 20 meters high and is called a "shingi." "Yama" refers to floats that used to be carried. This type of float is also a stage where a scene of a story or legend is depicted using elaborate figures, and a real pine-tree pole called "shinmatsu" is often mounted on top. A community house in Tsukihoko-cho. A figure of worship was on display in the second-floor window during the daytime until July 16. Yama and hoko floats were introduced in the 14th century, after the introduction of mikoshi portable shrines, as Furyu Hayashimono, or elaborate creations or costumes on people that dance or move to the beat of accompanying musicians. During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the floats were paraded through an area known as Shimogyo or Shimowatari. Overcoming damage caused by war and great fires, the floats became larger and more extravagant, and by the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) had come to be sanctified. When July arrives, the parishioners association of Yasaka Shrine and the neighborhoods that are home to the floats hold a ceremony to mark the commencement of a Shinto ritual. It is called Kippu-iri. Purification of the Kanko-hoko float. Board members of the preservation society clapped their hands in prayer. (On July 1, 2020) The Kankoboko Hozonkai preservation society performed the Kippu-iri ceremony in the neighborhood's community house on the morning of July 1. In usual years, a total of about 70 people gather for the ceremony, including preservation society board members, float assembly members and carriers called daikukata, tetsudaikata, and kurumakata, people from Kankoboko-cho, and future bearers of these roles. This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering was split into three different sessions. The tokonoma alcove was decorated the same as in normal years, with a small shrine, a figure of a sacred child, and a hanging scroll that says, "Gion Gozu Tenno," which is a deity related to pestilence. There was also a line of offerings of sake. "Please pray quietly this year," said the Shinto priest. Unchanged spirit of the float communities "The 34 yama floats have developed as float communities have competed with each other," preservation society chairperson Tadashi Okamoto, 54, said. "Every community thinks their float is the best. Even this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I'd like to continue to respect that spirit of the float communities, which has been passed down from older generations." A figure of worship placed in the tokonoma alcove of the Kankoboko Hozonkai preservation society. (On July 1, 2020) The word used to refer to the float communities is "machishu" or "choshu" in Japanese, meaning "townspeople." It refers to merchants and traders with a high sense of autonomy, who emerged during and after the Muromachi period (1336–1573). Having inherited its float, which used to be managed by such merchants, the Kankoboko Hozonkai preservation society hopes to carry forth their spirit. Meanwhile, the Naginatahoko Hozonkai preservation society did not perform Kippu-iri, which, in usual years, it holds on July 5. The Naginata-hoko float is currently the only float that carries a live sacred child, instead of a figure, in the festival. It is famous for Shimenawa-giri, in which that child uses a real sword to cut a sacred rope. This year, however, it has not assembled its float, and there is no sacred child. That is why the preservation society decided to perform only purification and no Kippu-iri. Purification of the Naginata-hoko float. The ceremony, which is held annually on July 10, was brought forward this year. (On July 5, 2020) Photo by Ryo Masuyama On the Naginata-hoko float, there are four attendants, called chigo-kakari, who look after the sacred child, or "chigo" in Japanese. During the festival period, they meet almost every day with the elementary school child who has been chosen as the sacred child to help him with things like his costume. Also, on the day of the procession, they stand behind him on the float to support him in cutting the sacred rope with a sword and carrying out the Taihei-no-Mai performance. A summer without a sacred child "I have served as an attendant to the sacred child for nearly 20 years, but this is the first time we have had no sacred child to care for," said float representative Hiroshi Asobe, 66. "It is truly unfortunate, but I think it is the deities' intention." July 17. In normal years, this is the most spectacular day of the festival. The highlights of the day include the Shimenawa-giri, where the sacred child on the lead Naginata-hoko float cuts the sacred rope that has been stretched across Shijo Street, and the Kuji-aratame, where the cord of the lacquered lottery box is untied without using hands, to check that the floats are lined up in the order of the lottery results. The hoko floats perform dynamic changes of direction at intersections in a maneuver known as Tsuji-mawashi, and the sound of the Gion Bayashi music comes from the second floor of the yama floats. In the Saki-Matsuri procession, 23 floats participate, and in the Ato-Matsuri procession on July 24, 10 floats parade, along with representatives of the Taka-yama float (currently under assembly) who carry a chest of sacred objects. They were supposed to enliven the summertime in Kyoto. Many people probably thought there would be no events on the procession days this year. But in fact, some events were held. Shigekatsu Minoura Joined The Kyoto Shimbun in 1996. Covering religion, he has for many years written stories mainly about shrines, temples, and traditional events in Kyoto and Shiga. He is currently on the editorial board. He was a member of Shukyo Kisha Kai, a religion press club, which is said to exist only in Rome and Kyoto. *This article was published on July 18, 2020. *This article is partially published with permission from the Kyoto Shimbun. (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • A quiet Gion Festival #3 A quiet Gion Festival #3 Column

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    The deities still cross over A thousand years of prayer is passed on At this year's Gion Festival, there was no Mikoshi Togyo procession of portable shrines. Still, the deities, "riding (mythological) white horses," crossed the Kamo River and entered the otabisho visiting place. Following this route, we came upon the quiet prayer of festival supporters. The festival-eve ceremony at Yasaka Shrine With all the lights of the shrine grounds turned off, and the mystical sound of a Japanese zither echoing through the night sky, the chief priests moved the deities into the three mikoshi portable shrines placed in the mikoshi-ko, a portable-shrine storage house. After the ceremony, the lights were turned back on, and priests moved to the front of the mikoshi to pray. (On July 15, 2020) The Gion Festival consists of two major parts: the Yamahoko and the Mikoshi Togyo processions. Each of these includes related events and rituals. Mikoshi Togyo is an important ritual that moves the holy spirits of Yasaka Shrine into the mikoshi portable shrines and carries them to the otabisho visiting place. However, it was canceled this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even so, the deities need to go to the otabisho for the duration of the festival. How can they be taken there without using mikoshi? The Shinto priests focused on an ancient document from the late 15th century. Passing the edict plate An old-style Gion Festival held at the main shrine An edict plate in a brocade bag was handed from deputy chief priest Hiroshi Kuno to Miyamoto group leader Satoru Hara. The plate has an imperial order issued by Emperor Enyu in the Heian Period written on it in sumi ink. (At the main shrine of Yasaka Shrine on July 17, 2020) Shigekatsu Minoura Joined The Kyoto Shimbun in 1996. Covering religion, he has for many years written stories mainly about shrines, temples, and traditional events in Kyoto and Shiga. He is currently on the editorial board. He was a member of Shukyo Kisha Kai, a religion press club, which is said to exist only in Rome and Kyoto. *This article was published on July 24, 2020. *This article is partially published with permission from the Kyoto Shimbun. (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • The silver screen spread the idea of townspeople's festivals The silver screen spread the idea of townspeople's festivals Column

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    Reflected society and the strength of powerful families Medieval Gion festival floats Is the Gion Festival's Yamahoko Junko procession a festival of the townspeople? The image of the festival during the Muromachi period, close to when the festival began, was different from the current image that is said to have been established after the war. It was the biggest festival in Japan and also reflected the reality of society and power in medieval times. The impact of the film "Gion matsuri" Is the Yamahoko Junko procession of the Gion Festival a festival of the townspeople? People often have the impression that, since the old days, townspeople were actively involved in the festival and ran it while sometimes standing up to power. But, is this true? Masayoshi Kawauchi, a Nara University processor studying the Medieval Gion Festival, which is close to the festival's roots, said that such an image was established after the war, through media such as movies. When he searched documents to find a more original form of the festival from the Muromachi period, he found that it had nearly twice as many floats as the current number, making it the largest ever. However, it also significantly reflected the reality of society and power in medieval times. In 1968, the film "Gion matsuri," produced by and starring Kinnosuke Nakamura, was released. The cast included top stars, such as Toshiro Mifune, Ken Takakura, Hibari Misora, Kiyoshi Atsumi, and Shima Iwashita. The Yamahoko Junko procession, the highlight of the film, was filmed on a large scale on Shinmarutamachi Street, before it was opened to the public, recreating the atmosphere of medieval times. "The so-called image of the festival being of the townspeople took root after the war and became widespread through this hit film," said Kawauchi. The idea of the townspeople running the festival began with a picture-story show The film was adapted from an original story. It was a story told using pictures, called "Gion matsuri," which was first presented at the University of Tokyo in 1952. Written by the late Tatsusaburo Hayashiya, a historian famous for his festival-of-the-townspeople theory, the story is set in Shijo-cho, Kyoto, in 1553, during the Warring States period. The story is about townspeople, including a fictional main character called "Hikojiro," performing the Yamahoko Junko procession while standing up against the Muromachi Shogunate, which called for a halt to the festival. The plot grew out of his desire to make history useful for people based on researchers' understanding at that time that the floats were protected by townspeople "throughout wars" and "through struggles against power." It was turned into a novel and then a film. In the film adaptation, the conflict between samurai and townspeople and between farming villages and cities became more emphasized. It is unknown how much the Marxist view of history, which was the trend of postwar historical studies, was intentionally reflected in the film, but the idea of the festival belonging to townspeople who stood up to power spread among the public through the film. "The image established through this film originated from a picture-story show based on Hayashiya's idea," said Kawauchi. "Until I started studying it, I had an impression similar to this idea, too. But studying documents about Yasaka Shrine, and other things, gave me a completely different thought." Simplified restoration of the festival, as seen by a court noble There are currently 34 floats. This number is based on when the festival was revived in 1500 after the Onin-Bunmei Wars (1467-1477). A court noble who witnessed the restoration said, "The festival was revived in the most informal form," according to the Gohokoinki diary written by Masaie Konoe. "Documents say that there were 60 floats before the wars. The festival held in the Muromachi period may have been the most magnificent, diversified, and unique," said Kawauchi. Masanori Hiyama (Writer) Journalist, News Division, Kyoto Shimbun. Joined The Kyoto Shimbun in 2000. Previously in charge of covering prefectural and municipal administration in Kyoto for the News Division, he currently writes articles about excavations, cultural assets, and historical matters in Kyoto City. He also writes "Tenka Nozomu Kamae," a column on castles in Kyoto and the Omi region of Shiga Prefecture. *This article was published on July 1, 2022. *This article is partially published with permission from the Kyoto Shimbun. (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • About the Kyoto Shimbun About the Kyoto Shimbun Column

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    Company Profile The Kyoto Shimbun was founded in 1879 as the Kyoto Shoji Hayabure. As the voice of the local community, deeply rooted in local traditions,the Kyoto Shimbun has devoted itself, for upwards of a century, to the development of the Kyoto and Shiga communities. Company policy, to uphold "justice, freedom and truth" has sustained the Kyoto Shimbun throughout many years of reporting and lively discussion. According to a survey carried out in 2017, the morning edition of the newspaper runs to 457,905 copies and the evening edition to 202,771. While the Kyoto Shimbun focuses closely on what is happening in the local community, it aims also to offer a more global point of view. In addition to a section on news of particular relevance to Kyoto citizens, the newspaper also includes no fewer than nine supplementary local news sections so that it can offer readers accurate and detailed coverage of the most up-to-date news on matters of local interest. For international news and news about the rest of Japan apart from Kyoto and Shiga, the Kyoto Shimbun's readers depend upon the newspaper's sharp and to-the-point reports which make use of the first rate reporting facilities and communication network of the Kyodo News Service. Kyoto, which became Japan's capital in 794, a position which she did not relinquish for over 1000 years, is an area rich in Japan's splendid heritage of culture and tradition. In addition, the location of famous universities and high technology industries in the region is symbolic of Kyoto's place in giving birth to new fields of academic endeavor and frontier technology. The Kyoto Shimbun, which has its head office in this treasure store of traditional culture, organizes a wide range of cultural events including art exhibitions, lectures and seminars. The Kyoto Shimbun also helps to encourage local sport by organizing school baseball competitions and Inter-prefectural Women's Ekiden, which have led to a nationwide boom in such events. Click here for the English versionthe Kyoto Shimbun website. (c) 1996-2023 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Please fill out the survey. Please fill out the survey. Stroly

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    About this Project About Stroly Inc. Thank you for enjoying the Gion Festival Map. Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey and let us know what you think. (Responses will be anonymous and will be tabulated) For local users only For users in remote areas About this Project In July 2023, Kyoto Shimbun and Stroly Inc. collaborated to release "Gion Festival Digital Map 2023." following last year. We have prepared many tricks to enjoy the Gion Festival not only on site but also at home.  Once again this year, we are pleased to present an illustrated map by Kyoto-based illustrator Moriyuka. The map features unique characters enjoying the Gion Festival, drawn with a light touch reminiscent of caricatures of birds and animals.  In addition to the origin and explanation of each float, you can also learn about the rituals and events related to the Gion Festival. We hope you will enjoy the Gion Festival to the fullest by visiting as many floats as possible! Saki-Matsuri illustrated map(Held from 7/1 to 7/16) About Stroly Inc. Stroly Inc. operates an online platform for illustrated maps. People in the area where the Kyoto Gion Festival is held can enjoy this content while checking their current location using the GPS on their smartphones or tablets. Those who are unable to visit the site in person can select a character when accessing the map to participate and talk with multiple users at the same time. Official website

  • What is the Gion Festival? What is the Gion Festival? What is the Gion Festival?

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    History Schedule Highlight This map provides information on the floats that will be paraded during the Gion Festival from Thursday, July 18, 2024 to Wednesday, July 31, 2024, along with your location (GPS). What is the Gion Festival? Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Japan, is held annually throughout the entire month of July in central Kyoto and at Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward. It features various rituals and events including the Yamahoko Junko procession and the Shinko-sai festival, which are the primary highlights of the festival. Yama floats parade up Kawaramachi Street with the Naginata-hoko float leading the pack. These beautiful yama floats bathing in the summer sun are watched over by the thousands of spectators who attend the festival. Origin and history of the Gion Festival Gion Festival is thought to date back to 869 in the early Heian period when a plague spread across the city of Kyoto. The people prayed for an end to the plague by erecting 66 hoko spears, which represent the number of provinces of Japan at that time, at the vast Shinsen-en gardens outside of the city's castle and carrying a portable mikoshi shrine from Yasaka Shrine. The main Yamahoko Junko procession came to a halt due to the Onin War (1467-1477) but was revived by the townspeople in 1500. Following this, tapestries and other items brought from overseas, including China, Persia, and Belgium, began being used to decorate the floats. These luxury ornaments made the yama floats come to be called "moving museums." Despite a fire damaging floats in the Edo period, the townspeople kept up the tradition of the festival and have successfully preserved it to this day. In 2009, the Yamahoko Junko procession was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The Yamahoko Junko procession is what is known as a Tsuyuharai, which precedes the Mikoshi Togyo procession, and consists of two parts: Saki-Matsuri, preceding the Shinko-sai festival, and Ato-Matsuri, including the Kanko-sai festival. During Japan's period of economic growth, the Saki-Matsuri and Ato-Matsuri processions were held together to prevent traffic jams and promote tourism, but they have since been separated to return to the original form of the festival. In 2014, the Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko procession was resurrected after half a century. The sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float confidently performing Shimenawa-giri Gion Festival schedule Gion Festival opens every year with the Kippu-iri ritual on the 1st of July. The Kujitori-shiki lottery ceremony is held on the 2nd at Kyoto City Hall to determine the order of floats in the procession. Assembly of the floats for Saki-Matsuri begins around the 10th, and Hikizome, or the first pulling of the floats, is performed around the 12th. After festive evenings known as Yoiyoiyoiyama on the 14th, Yoiyoiyama on the 15th, and Yoiyama on the 16th, 23 floats parade down the main streets of Kyoto, along with Gion Bayashi music, on the 17th for Saki-Matsuri. Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the floats are assembled for Ato-Matsuri. The Yoiyama evenings are set to take place on the 21st through the 23rd, and Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko is on the 24th. The Hanagasa Junko procession follows Yamahoko Junko. On the evening of the 24th, the Kanko-sai festival is held to bring the mikoshi shrines back from their temporary housing facility, the Otabisho, to their shrines. The carriers crammed at the foot of the stone steps cheer as they lift the three mikoshi into the air. Gion Festival highlights Before Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Hikizome, which takes place around the 12th, is often open to the general public. Until Yoiyama on the 16th, people can enjoy the yama floats and hoko spears illuminated by traditional Japanese lanterns down the narrow Kyoto side streets where they are displayed. From the yama floats, people can also get chimaki, or charms to protect against disease, and amulets that symbolize blessings in education or success in life. On the day of Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 23 yama floats leave near Shijo and Karasuma at 9:00 a.m. They go east down Shijo Street, go north up Kawaramachi Street, and then west down Oike Street. The highlights include Shimenawa-giri, a ritual held at Shijo-Fuyacho in which a sacred child on the Naginata-hoko float cuts a sacred rope, and Tsuji-mawashi, where the yama floats turn directions at intersections. Before Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko Starting on the day following Saki-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko, the Ofune-hoko float is assembled. During the Yoiyama period, no street stalls are permitted to allow spectators to enjoy the original atmosphere of the festival. On the day of Ato-Matsuri Yamahoko Junko A total of 11 yama floats leave Karasuma Oike at 9:30 a.m. They move in the reverse direction of Saki-Matsuri. People come from all over to see the revived Ofune-hoko float and reversed Tsuji-mawashi turning of the floats as they parade in the opposite direction to Saki-Matsuri. Hanagasa Junko, which replaced the Ato-Matsuri procession for many years until its return, proceeds down Oike Street and Kawaramachi Street, following the Ato-Matsuri procession. The Naginata-hoko float being turned in the Tsuji-mawashi while the wheels creak (c) 1996-2024 The Kyoto Shimbun Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.

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