Eelegance and energeticness
The Gion Festival is held every year for one month from July 1 to 31. “Kon kon chikitin konchikichin, konchikichin”. With the sound of “Gion Bayashi” (Gion Festival Music), Kyoto in July is full of Gion Festival. Gion Festival is a festival with a very long history that has been held for more than a thousand years. From July 1st (Kippuiri) to 31st (Ekijinja Nagoshikai Festival), it is a rites and festivals of Yasaka Shrine where various festivals are held for a month.
Many people visit the “Yama-hoko Junko” (Float Procession) on the 17th (previous festival) and Yoiyama (the eve of the main festival) on the 24th (post festival), and the Kyoto city is a festival Wrapped in hot air. “Kyoto Gion Festival Yamaboko Event” is also registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
At each Yamahoko-cho, you can see Yama and Hoko in addition to Yoiyama and cruising. If no nails are used and they are assembled using traditional rope-related techniques, mountains and hoko will appear everywhere in Kyoto. After “Yamatate” and “Hokotate”, a “pulling start” for trial pulling is performed.
It is a tradition of summer in Kyoto, and is also known as one of Japan’s three major festivals, along with the “Tenjin Festival” and “Kanda Festival”. The appeal of this festival is that it combines elegance and energeticness, such as the magnificent Yamaboko, the lanterns that emerge at night, and the carrying of a portable shrine.
There are lots of highlights such as “Kuji Aratame”, which confirms the order of “Junko” (Float Procession), and the exciting “Tsujimawashi”. The meaning of “Yamahoko-junko” (a parade of beautifully decorated floats) is said to be to traverse Yamahoko to clear the evil and injuries of the town of Kyoto, and to create a path through which the main god of the Gion Festival passes. The beauty of Yama and Hoko ornaments, such as beautiful embroidery and imported textiles, is also stunning, and the appearance is gorgeous and beautiful, and it is said to be a “moving art museum”.
It is held for one month from July 1 to July 31 every year.
The main venues of the Gion Festival are Yasaka Shrine and Shijo Otabisho. It is introduction of access to each venue.
Take the Kyoto City Bus 206 from Japan Railway “Kyoto” station to get to the “Gion” bus stop in about 15 minutes. The destination is just a short walk away.
By Keihan Electric Railway connecting Osaka and Kyoto, you can reach “Gion Shijo” station in about 8 minutes on foot.
Take the Hankyu Electric Railway Kyoto Line connecting Osaka and Kyoto and go to Kawaramachi Station. From there it is a 1 minute walk to the destination.
It is also a short walk from Kyoto City Bus 104, Shijo Kawaramachi bus stop.
Charms and Highlights of Gion Matsuri Festival
“Yamahoko-junko” and “Mikoshi togyo”
The Gion Festival which directs the hot summer of Kyoto taken by the current Yasaka Shrine is a festival that begins from the Heian era and rejects plague and disasters and wish for a peaceful day. The schedule of the festival is a long festival of a period to be held from July 1st to 31st, the main is the pre-festival on the 17th and the post-festival on the 24th. The “Yamahoko-junko” (a parade of beautifully decorated floats) and “Mikoshi togyo” (parade of mikoshi – portable shrines) full of breath are the most interesting points of the Gion Festival.
Early in the Heian era (around 869), plague epidemic spread all over the country including Kyoto, a lot of people died. In those days, it was thought that plague and disaster occurred due to the anger of the pestilence god and the evil spirit of the dead. At the time, this epidemic was said to be the anger of the pestilence god “Gozu Tenno” (a deity said to be the Indian god Gavagriva). Therefore, the people of those days carried out a gorgeous festival, aimed at calming the plague. This is said to be the origin of the Gion festival.
When “Gozu Tenno” was conveyed to Japan as a god who rejects plague and disaster, it became the god of the current Yasaka Shrine, and shrines that worship “Gozu Tenno” spread all over the country. Since it is the guardian deity of Gion-shoja (the Jetavana monastery), these shrines are called “Gion Shrine” and the festivals held there are called “Gion Goryoe” (an attempt to secure protection from the plague of Gionsha, or Yasaka-jinja Shrine). For these reasons, besides Kyoto, there are festivals in various places that being descended from “Gion” like “Hakata Gion Yamagasa” and “Kokura Gion Daiko“.
“Yamahoko-junko” around the city center of Kyoto is so luxurious and beautiful as “a moving art museum”. The meaning of “Yamahoko-junko” is said to make a way for the main god of the Gion festival to purify the evils and sorrows of the city of Kyoto by walking down the floats. Attention is often attracted to luxurious and powerful “Yamahoko-junko”, but the most important part of the Gion Festival is a mikoshi shrine. “Mikoshi togyo” means the peaceful lives of people living in the area by transferring the godly body to the shrine mikoshi, carrying the mikoshi and walking through the areas of shrine parishioners.
Various events are carried out
Kyoto Gion Festival is held in Yasaka-jinja Shrine in July. Various events are carried out for one month, after all the Yamahoko (decorated floats) Junko parade is the most popular.
More than 1,000 years from the Heian era
Originally, it is a shinto ritual of Yasaka-jinja Shrine in Kyoto, the Gion festival that was continued for long time more than 1,000 years from the Heian era. It is said that it began to confine an epidemic prevails at the capital.
The decorations of the festival cars
The Yamahoko is one of the decorations of the festival cars pulled in the rites and festivals of the Shinto shrine.
Installing the artifacts of a house or a mountain on the car, It is called “Yamahoko” which is furthermore decorated with a Naginata (long-handled sword) or a Japanese halberd.
“Hanagasa Junko” (flower umbrella cruise) on July 24 is also popular event along with “Yamahoko Junko” of the Gion festival which color the summer of Kyoto. A lot of women appear in the event, and its gorgeousness is one of the highlight of the “Hanagasa Junko”.
Feel the history more than 1,000 years
Please enjoy the spectacular of “Yamahoko Junko” and the gorgeous “Hanagasa Junko”. It is a historical and well-known festival of Kyoto, so you can feel the history more than 1,000 years.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Gion Matsuri Festival|
|Adresse:||Nijohanjikicho Kyoto Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8412 Japan|
|Access:||Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma-sen Line “Shijo-Karasuma-eki Station”|
|Tel:||(+81) 75-213-1717 (Kyoto City Tourism Association)|