No Float Procession This YearEarlier Part of Kyoto's Gion Festival Changed Due to COVID-19
On July 17, representatives from the preservation groups of the 23 festival floats of the "Saki-matsuri," or earlier festival of the Gion Festival, marched on foot from the intersection of Shijo-dori-Karasuma, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, to Yasaka Shrine's Shijo Otabisho. This event took place as a substitute for the float procession which was cancelled due to the coronavirus. The representatives holding wands of "sakaki," or sacred wood, walked eastward in single file along Shijo-dori Street. At Otabisho, they bowed toward Yasaka Shrine.
At 9:00 a.m. approximately 50 people in "Kamishimo," or ceremonial kimono, began walking, led by the standard for "Gion-e," or Gion Festival, and metal staffs. When the procession arrived at Shijo-dori Sakai-machi, where the "Kuji Aratame" ceremony to confirm the procession order is usually held, the preservation groups' representatives bowed before the Sakaki wand placed there, then continued marching. They arrived at Otabisho, at Shijo-dori Teramachi Higashi-iru about 20 minutes later, and one by one, clapped their hands to offer prayers.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)