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Gion Matsuri

The Gion festival is one of the largest annual festivals held in Kyoto. It was originally held as a purification ritual, but evolved to become a key part of Kyoto’s culture and hailed the involvement of wealthy citizens. Due to this involvement, items were obtained from outside of Japan via the Silk Road from the 16th century onward to embellish some floats. It takes place through the whole of July with different activities and celebrations organised throughout. The main event involves processions which contain 33 floats (Yamamboko) and there are two types; the first is Yama (23) and the second is Hoko (10). The floats are incredibly impressive, with the Hoko weighing up to 12 tons, reaching heights of 25 metres and needing to be carried by 50+ people. Unfortunately it has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic which is the second time it has been cancelled since 869. (Photo from a similar festival).

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