Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri:

Lanterns at the Gion Festival in Kyoto

Lanterns at the Gion Festival in Kyoto

The Gion Matsuri, familiarly known as ‘Gion-san,’ is a festival of Yasaka-jinja Shrine, and the highlight is the splendid pageant of some 20 and 10 floats called yamaboko proceeding along the main streets of Kyoto on the 17th and 24th. The streets are lined with night stalls selling food such as yakitori (barbecued chicken skewers), taiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, traditional Japanese sweets, and many other culinary delights. Many girls dressed in yukata (summer kimono) walk around the area, carrying with them traditional purses and paper fans. During the yoiyama evenings leading up to the parade, some private houses in the old kimono merchant district open their entryways to the public, exhibiting valuable family heirlooms, in a custom known as the Byobu Matsuri, or Folding Screen Festival. This is a precious opportunity to visit and observe traditional Japanese residences of Kyoto.

 

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