Gion Festival

By: Hiroki Yokoyama

Do you know Kyoto? Kyoto is the most traditional city in Japan and it was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years until 19th century. In Kyoto, there are lots of temples, shrines, and any other traditional things, so if you come to Kyoto, you can really enjoy Japanese culture. Although Kyoto doesn’t offer you all seasons, it becomes the most exciting city especially in summer because there is one very amazing and attractive festival.

It’s “Gion festival”. This festival takes place in July every year. It is the festival of Yasaka Shrine which is at the east of Kyoto City and famous for cherry blossom in spring. “Gion” is the name of the area around this shrine. The origin of this festival is not sure, but according to one story, more than 1,000 years ago, in Kyoto there was a very serious plague. To mitigate it, people started this festival. So it has been continuing for more than 1,000 years. During the festival, the whole Kyoto City is under a very exciting mood because there are many traditional decorations which illuminate the city or make it more attractive. We can also see many stalls at the streets which sell foods, drinks, and souvenirs.

Every year, so many people come to this festival, including those come from any area in Japan and even all over the world. At the last day, one very famous and interesting event takes place, which is called “Yamaboko Junkoh”. “Yamaboko” means a kind of portable shrine and “Junkoh” means walking around. In short, many people walk around with carrying the portable shrine together. Also, they wear a kind of “Kimono” which is Japanese traditional cloth. That’s absolutely fantastic and exciting. You will have much fun.

As I have explained above, if you join “Gion Festival”, you can feel the Japanese culture, tradition, and our soul!!! Did you get to feel like visiting to Kyoto? All Kyoto citizens, all Japanese are waiting for you!