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Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival)
One of Japan's most famous festivals held in Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto with more than 1150 years of history.
Gion Festival is one of Japan's three great festivals and world-famous. Many come to see this festival, which originated in 869 when an epidemic hit Kyoto and the rest of Japan and people petitioned the deity of Yasaka to remove the pestilence and the nation was cleansed from the calamity. The Yasaka Shrine’s rituals and events are held to this day for a month from July 1.
On July 1, Kippu-Iri, the introductory rituals in each town, opens the Gion Festival. The climax is Yamahoko Junko (the procession of 34 floats) initial festival on the 17th and Mikoshi Togyo (the procession of portable shrines) latter festival on the 24th. With Gion Bayashi music and chants, the initial procession starts from Shijo Karasuma and the latter procession starts at Karasuma Oike, moving around Kyoto City. The Yamahoko of Kyoto’s Gion Festival is registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Property. Yamahoko is called the Moving Art Museum, so fascinating. If you wish to have a good view, reserved paid seats on Oike Street are available.
Yoiyama, the three days before the procession of the initial festival and latter festival, is noteworthy as well. During Yoiyama, the fabrics, made of valuable Nishijin textile, that cover the float base, will be displayed in each town hall for a close view. During the initial festival, many booths will be set up. After the sunset, the floats will be lit with lanterns, creating a dreamy ambience.
One of Japan's three most famous festivals held in Yasaka Shrine with more than 1150 years of history.
Yamahoko procession on the 17th (the initial festival) and 24th (the latter festival), called the Moving Art Museum, is a must-see.
The float procession is registered as Yamahoko of Kyoto’s Gion Festival in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Property.
If you wish to have a good view, reserved paid seats are available.
During Yoiyama, the floats will be lit with lanterns, creating a dreamy ambience.
- Name in Japanese
- July 1-31
To Yasaka Shrine:
1) From Keihan Oto Line, Gion-Shijo Station, walk 5 min.
2) From Hankyu Kyoto Line, Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station, walk 8 min.
3) From JR Kyoto Station, ride Kyoto City Bus’ Line 206, get off at Gion Stop, and walk a short distance
- Official Website
- Yasaka Shrine (English)