Float Procession: Brilliant Kuji-Aratame Ceremony Draws CheersAto Matsuri of Gion Festival in Kyoto
The float procession for the "Ato Matsuri," or latter festival, of the Gion Festival took place in central Kyoto City on July 24. Accompanied by the "Kon-chiki-chin" sound of the "Gion-bayashi" festival music melody, a total of 10 Yama and Hoko floats decorated with gorgeous ornaments proceeded along the streets of the ancient capital under the scorching heat.
At 9:30 a.m., the Hashibenkei Yama float, which is "Kujitorazu," or a fixed position float, set off from Oike-dori Karasuma, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, carrying its deity figures of Benkei and Ushiwaka-maru. Then the Kita-Kannon Yama float, which people pull along, advanced swaying its sacred pine tree. Following that, the Kuronushi Yama float, which drew the position of this year's "Yamaichiban," or the first float following the fixed position floats, moved forward.
In the "Kuji-Aratame" ceremony held in front of the Kyoto City Hall, representatives of each float untied the strings on their boxes only using folding fans and showed their tickets to the mayor of Kyoto City who was in charge of the ceremony. The brilliant performance in which they did not touch the strings directly with their hands drew applause and cheers from the spectators.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)