One of Japan’s three major festivals – the Gion Festival
The Gion festival is part of the ritual festivities of the Yasaka Shrine, and is known as one of the three major festivals of Japan, along with the Tenjin festival of Osaka and Kanda festival of Tokyo. It is known for its long history, its luxuriousness, as well as for its grand scale with festivities lasting throughout the month.
Its roots are said to be found about 1100 years ago, when a large meeting was held to pray to the gods of Gion for the removal of calamities. Sixty-six spears were set up at Shinsen’en to represent the countries that existed on the Japanese islands at the time.
The highlight of the festival is a grand procession of 33 decorated yamahoko floats carried out on the 17th and 24th. The “Yamahoko, the float ceremony of the Kyoto Gion festival” is inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Today I encountered Naginataboko, the float that always leads the way in this Gion festival parade 🙂