[Kyoto]Gion festival, the biggest summer festival in Kyoto.2013.07.19

Do you know Gion festival?
It is a traditional, well-known Japanese summer festival.
This festival is especially Japanese like.
What is Gion festival? Today, we introduce you about Gion festival!

Gion festivalPhoto by Ishida Naoki

1. What is Gion festival?

Gion festival is the biggest summer festival in Kyoto, Japan.
It is one of the 3 biggest Japanese festival.
The origin of this festival was the repose of the souls of some members of the imperial family who dead in innocence at 9th century.
The festival is held for very long time. Actually, it is held through a month, July!
You can watch the beautiful portable shrines called “hoko” and “yama”.
The high light of Gion matsuri is Yoiyama(7/14-7/16) and Yamahoko Junko(7/17).

Gion festivalPhoto by Ishida Naoki

2. How can we enjoy Yoiyama?

Strictly speaking, Yoiyama is not the main event of Gion festival. This is the eve of Gion festival. However, many people think Yoiyama is main event of Gion festival. Why?
Because you can watch the portable shrines at close range, enjoy music and food from the festival float at night.
So many people come to this Yoiyama. Shijo street, the high street of Kyoto is pedestorian paradise. However, Shijo street is too much crowded to walk confortably.
The portable shrines are really beautiful. Most Japanese comer are wearing Japanese traditional summer dress “Yukata.” It is the abridged version of Kimono. You can also enjoy Japanese traditional、delicious and inexpensive dishes.

3. How can we enjoy Yamahoko Junko?

Yamahoko Junko is the true main event of Gion festival.
Yamahoko Junko is the parade of 32 portable shrines. There are no festival float. A very few people wear Yukata. There are more solemn atmosphere than Yoiyama.
Portable shrines are really big, so the parade has unique thrill and strength.
Yamahoko Junko is also very crowded. When I went to watch Yamahoko Junko, I couldn’t watch the whole shape of portable shrine because of the crowd of people.
This event is held under blazing sun, so be careful to avoid the heat disorder!

Gion festival is one of the most traditional, beautiful, prosperous festival in Japan.
If you come to Kyoto at summer, please check this festival!

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