Festivals in Kyoto: July

July in Kyoto is the month of "Gion Festival".
This festival has been held since the Heian period (9th century).
The origin of this festival is said to be a plague that spread in Kyoto, and people prayed for good health and safety.
There are various ways to enjoy the Gion Festival.

(1) Yoiyama, where you can appreciate the Gion music and gorgeous decorations.

Yamaboko floats have different atmospheres during the day and at night.
In the daytime, the sun shines brightly on the decorations, giving a sense of the grandeur of the floats.
At night, the lanterns are lit and float beautifully in the darkness of the night.
The decorations are not only from Japan, but also from Europe, such as Belgium, and Asia, such as China.
They have been handed down from generation to generation and are said to be a moving museum.

祇園囃子と豪華絢爛な装飾品を鑑賞できる宵山 祇園囃子と豪華絢爛な装飾品を鑑賞できる宵山

(2) Tsujimawashi of Yamaboko Junko (float procession)

After the Yoiyama festival, the Yamaboko floats make a procession through the city of Kyoto.
At intersections, "tsujimawashi" is performed to change the angle of the floats by human power.
The only things used are bamboos, ropes, water, and human power.
It gives us a sense of the strength of the men of Kyoto.


(3) Chimaki

Chimaki is a good-luck charm of the Gion festival sold at Yamaboko floats.
Gozutenno, the god of the Yasaka Shrine where the Gion Festival is held, was on a journey and asked for a place to stay.
While his journey, he was told to wear a "thatch ring" around his waist.by the poor but hospitable Sominshorai who treated him.
Thereafter, there was an epidemic, but Sominshorai's family did not catch it.
From this tradition, it is believed that hanging Chimaki on the eaves of one's house will ensure one's good health.