Float Procession through Kyoto's Streets under Blazing SunGion Festival in Kyoto
"Yamahoko Junko," the float procession which is the highlight of "Saki Matsuri," or early festival of the Gion Festival, took place in the central area of Kyoto City on July 17. The Gion Festival is one of Japan's three major festivals. Falling on a weekday after a three-day weekend, the number of spectators was 165,000 at 1:00 p.m., which was 55,000 fewer people than last year when the festival was on a holiday, according to Kyoto Prefectural Police. Under the scorching sun, 23 floats decorated with gorgeous ornaments proceeded along the streets of the ancient capital.
The temperature had already reached 32.1 degrees Celsius at 9:00 a.m. As the sun blazed fiercely, the float leader gave the signal shout and the headmost Naginata-hoko float started off from Shijo-dori Karasuma Higashi-iru, Shimogyo Ward. At Shijo-dori Fuyacho, Yutaro Kobayashi, the 8-year-old "Chigo," or sacred child, wielded his sword beautifully, cutting through the sacred plaited rope.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)