Gion Matsuri is held annually in Kyoto and is probably one of the most famous festival in all of Japan. It is on during the entire month of July and the Yama-boko Junkō, which is the parade with the floats, is the absolute highlight of the festival and is on July 17th. Kyoto's downtown area is closed for traffic on the three nights leading up to the parade. On these nights the streets are lined with night stalls selling food, traditional sweets, beer and much more. On these nights it is also the perfect opportunity to spot the Japanese walking around in beautiful cotton summer kimonos, called yukatas.
On the 17th one has to rise early to get a good spot to watch the parade. The streets get real crowded hours before it starts and people bring food, water and fans to get through the long wait in the hot and humid weather.
The parade consists of about 30 floats that are carried and pulled. It takes about 3 hours and is amazing to watch.
Weight: about 12,000 kg
Height: about 25m from ground to tip / 8 m from ground to roof
Wheel diameter: about 1.9 m
Attendants: about 30-40 pulling during procession, usually 2 men piloting with wedges
Height: about 6 m
Weight: 1,200 – 1,600 kg
Attendants: 14-24 people to pull, push or carry
There are pamphlets in English handed out in the streets or they can be picked up at a TIC. Getting one is making the experience even better as you can read about the different floats and which temples or shrines they belong to.
The shichi-go-san festival is also known as the 7-5-3 festival. Children of these ages dress up in tradtional clothings and visit the shrines, of which the Heian Jingu shrine is the most popular. They look so cute that we couldn't resist taking pictures with them.
This is the traditional event
Ceremony in which paper lanterns are floated down river for memorial service for the dead
The `To-ro-nagashi' is annual event,at 16 August every year,