Portable Shrines Gathered with Resounding Shouts of "Hoitto"Shinko-sai Festival of Gion Festival
The Shinko-sai festival, a part of the Gion Festival, took place in the central area of Kyoto City, on the evening of July 17. Three portable shrines gathered in front of Yasaka Shrine, Higashiyama Ward. Gallant shouting of "Hoitto, hoitto" by the male carriers, called "Yocho," resounded.
Just after 6:00 p.m., the three portable shrines named Nakagoza, Higashigoza and Nishigoza respectively, came together at the foot of the stone steps to Yasaka Shrine and underwent a purification ritual from a Shinto priest. The festival atmosphere reached its climax when carriers performed "Sashiage," or raising the portable shrines up high, and "Sashimawashi," or turning them around.
The street sides were crowded with many spectators. Some of them clapped their hands in time with the carriers' shouts, and others took photos of the valiant-looking men.
The portable shrines departed one after another. They passed along Sanjo-ohashi Bridge, Teramachi-dori Street, and other sites and arrived at Shijo Otabisho in Shijo-dori, Teramachi Higashi-iru, Shimogyo Ward before midnight on July 17. The three portable shrines will return to Yasaka Shrine in the Kanko-sai festival on July 24.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)