Amid the reverberating Gion festival music, gorgeously decorated yamahoko floats are hauled along, paraded by crowds of people. When the yamahoko floats reach the corner of an intersection, the highlight of the Yamahoko Junko procession known as "tsuji-mawashi" (the turning of the floats) begins. The yamahoko float comes to a stop over green bamboo laid on the ground with water sprinkled over it, and is gradually turned in three or four pulls making for a spectacular sight. Gion Matsuri has a history of over 1,100 years and comprises various Shinto rituals held over a one month period. The dynamic, elegant movements of the yamahoko floats carry this history forward and endlessly fascinate their audience.
※ Views like the one shown in the photo can only be seen under certain conditions (time of day, weather etc.).
Among the various events held during the one-month period of the festival, some of the most popular include the pre-festivals Saki no Matsuri's Yoiyama events from July 14th to 16th, and the Saki no Matsuri Yamahoko Junko on July 17th. There's also the post-festival Ato no Matsuri Yamahoko Junko on July 24th. If you don't want to miss the tsuji-mawashi, early booking of the paid spectator seats for the Yamahoko Junko on show in either the Saki no Matsuri or the Ato no Matsuri is recommended. The tsuji-mawashi points are near Yasaka Shrine and Shijo Karasuma.
The pleasure of travel: Gion Matsuri
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updated on Mar 24, 2016
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