Yamahoko Junko Procession through Ancient Capital's StreetsGion Festival's Saki Matsuri in Kyoto14 August 2019 - Local topics
The highlight procession "Yamahoko Junko" of "Saki Matsuri," or the former festival, of the Gion Festival, one of Japan's three major festivals, started in central Kyoto City on July 17. Celebrating the festival's 1,150th anniversary this year, a total of 23 Yama and Hoko floats decorated with gorgeous tapestries, which are likened to "moving museums," proceeded through the streets of the ancient capital.
Just after 9:00 a.m., the leading "Naginata Hoko" float, which is "Kujitorazu," or a fixed position float, departed from Shijo-dori Karasumahigashi-iru, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, accompanied by the signal shout of "En-yara-ya." It was followed by the "Toro Yama," which occupies this year's first "Yama" float position, the "Ashikari Yama" and "Tokusa Yama" floats.
The Gion Festival is held by Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, to pray that epidemics are driven away. It originates from "Gion Goryo-e," or a religious service to exorcise evil spirits, where 66 halberds were stood at Shinsen-en garden in 869. The town of Kyoto was hit by conflicts and disasters many times, but local citizens have joined together to preserve and hand down this rite.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)