Kyoto’s 1100-Year-Old Gion Festival

Shining as the best-known celebration in Japan, the Gion Celebration occurs every year over the entire month of July. It’s a testimony to the community spirit of downtown Kyotoites that this annual event has actually happened nearly constantly considering that it began in the year 869.

While consisting of an array of occasions, one of the most visually magnificent are the two grand processions of drifts (Yamaboko Junko) on July 17th and also 24th. The procession won acknowledgment as a social World Heritage occasion by UNESCO in 2009.

During the days leading up to the processions, site Chocolate and Cheese Festival visitors can watch the big float structures being constructed and also adorned with prizes. Straying the roads awards us with cultural treasures displayed at the drifts and also secretive homes.

The three evenings prior to the processions (called yoiyama) provide diverse banquets for the detects, including remarkable individuals seeing. We can delight in obtaining shed in the crowds in the middle of the transcendent songs, energetic festival road life and also intriguing food stalls.

The event stemmed with a ritual in the year 869, to soothe upset spirits believed to be casting plague upon the Kyoto population. Later that changed into a yearly ritual of processions to please close-by Yasaka Shrine’s residing deities, and to request purification of any unsafe energy for the year.

Fast-forward to the 20th century, and modern hygiene eased Kyotoites of the illnesses associated with its mid-summer stormy season. Nevertheless, the downpours continue to fall every July, advising us of the event’s raison-d’etre. When festival-goers feel oppressed by the warmth as well as humidity or sometimes obtain caught in a rainstorm, what can we do, apart from step into a dry and also awesome shopfront, and also pray for relief?

Weather doesn’t prevent several. More than a million visitors a year testify to the stunning nature of the Gion Festival.

The Floats

The word yamaboko refers to both type of floats featured in the festival: 10 massive hoko and also 23 smaller sized yama. It’s difficult to stay unimpressed by the colossal hoko, which depend on 25 meters tall (including the spares, they measure up to a 8-storey structure), consider approximately 12 tons, and are pulled on wheels by tens of heaving guys.

Unbelievably, they contain basic hardwoods lashed together with perfectly balanced lengths of rope. Fit with enormous wheels and enhanced with priceless imaginative ornaments accumulated over centuries, and also voila! Yamaboko have actually been called “relocating museums,” as well as stand for a worldwide special collection of textiles as well as other artwork, viewable close up and also without any glass in between you.