USEFUL INFORMATION

The Schedule of Gion Matsuri Festival 2018

2017.7.10

As we enter into July, Kyoto has become busier with Gion Matsuri (festival).  

Gion Matsuri is held for a month every year, from July 1st to 31st; it is filled with many Shinto rituals, festival activities and events.

 

 

 

[Gion Matsuri: History and Brief Overview]


Gion Matsuri first started as Gion Goryoue (the ceremony to appease evil gods and the spirits of the dead) in 869 (Jogan 11), the beginning of the Heian period. Back then, the epidemic started to spread in Kyoto, and soon all over the country, which was regarded as the curse of Gozu Emperor, or Susanoo-no-Mikoto (the Shinto god of the sea and storms). Hiramaro Urabe held Gion Goryoue to expel the evil spirit by putting up 66 (the number of regions in Japan at the time) hoko, or floats in Shinsen-en Temple which used to be a kin-en (the garden for the emperor), removing impurities by moving the evil spirit to the floats, worshipping Gozu Emperor (Susanoo-no-Mikoto) and sending 3 mikoshi (portable shrine) to Yasaka Jinja (shrine) which worships Gozu Emperor (Susanoo-no-Mikoto) as its main deity.

 

 

 

2018 Gion Matsuri Schedule


[July 1st 10:00 Naginata Hoko Osendo]

Chigo (the page boy of the ceremony)” riding on Naginata Hoko (float) visits Yasaka Jinja (shrine), reports to the deities that he was chosen as a chigo and prays for safety during the festival. (This event can be watched in Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 2nd 10:00 Kujitori Shiki]

Lottery for the yamahoko junko parade order (saki-no-matsuri which signifies an event on 17th, before the main festival starts, and ato-no-matsuri which is an event on 24th after the main festival) is conducted in the municipal assembly hall of Kyoto Municipal Office. (If you wish to attend the lottery, apply with a reply-paid postcard. If you are selected, you can go there to watch the event.)

 

 

 

 

[July 5th Around 15:30 Naginata Hoko Chigo Hirou]

A Naginata Hoko chigo (the page boy of the ceremony who rides on a float) performs taihei-no-mai (peaceful dance), also called as chigo-no-mai (dance of the page boy). (You can watch it around Naginata Hoko Hozonkai– the preservation group of the Naginata Hoko float in Shimogyo Ward.) Also, for Gion Matsuri 2017, Hayashi (9 years old) is to play the role of a chigo.

 

 

 

 

[July 10th to 14th Yamahoko Tate (saki-no-matsuri)]

23 yamahoko for saki-no-matsuri (an event before the main festival) are assembled. (This can be observed at the spot for assembling each yamahoko.)

 

 

 

 

[July 10th 10:00 Shinyosui Kiyoharai Shiki]  

The Shinto ritual is conducted at the east coast of Shijo Ohashi (bridge), and water for washing mikoshi (portable shrine) is drawn from Kamo Gawa (river). (You can watch it from Shijo Ohashi and such.)

 

 

 

 

[July 10th 16:30 Omukae Chochin]

Komusha (little samurai) and others parade from Yasaka Jinja (shrine) to Kyoto Municipal Office, dedicate performing arts in front of the municipal office, and go back to Yasaka Jinja to welcome mikoshi (portable shrine). (You can watch the parade along the junko route such as Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 10th 18:00 Mikoshi Arai]

Cleansing with a torch from Yasaka Jinja (shrine) to Shijo Ohashi (bridge), carrying the nakagoza mikoshi (portable shrine) from Yasaka Jinja to Shijo Ohashi, and cleansing it with the holy water. (You can watch the event on Shijo Street in the area from Yasaka Jinja to Shijo Ohashi.)

 

 

 

 

[July 12th 14:00 Yamahoko Hikizome]

Anyone can try carrying a float (Kanko Hoko 14:00, Niwatori Hoko 14:30, Tsuki Hoko 15:00, Kikusui Hoko 15:00, Naginata Hoko 15:30). (You can carry a float or watch the event on Shijo Street and Muromachi Street.)

 

 

 

 

 

[July 13th 12:00 Yamahoko Hikizome]

Anyone can try carrying a float (Toroyama 12:00, Houka Hoko 15:00, Fune Hoko 15:00, Iwatoyama 15:00). (You can carry a float or watch the event on Nishino Toin Street or Shinmachi Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 14th Yoi Yoi Yoi Yama (saki-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yamahoko are lit up, and the festive music gion bayashi is played.(You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are no vehicle-free areas or street stalls.)

 

 

 

 

[July 14th to 16th Byoubu Matsuri (saki-no-matsuri)]

Family treasures such as a byoubu (folding screen) are exhibited at machiya (townhouse) in yamahokocho (the towns which preserve floats used for the festival). (You can watch it from the street. There might be a charge.)

 

 

 

 

[July 15th Yoi Yoi Yama (saki-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yamahoko are lit up, and the festive music gion bayashi is played.(You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are traffic regulations, vehicle-free areas and street stalls.)

 

 

 

 

[July 15th 15:00 Dentou Geinou Hounou]

Japanese dance and such are dedicated to the deities at Yasaka Jinja (shrine). (You can watch the event at Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 15th 20:00 Yoimiya Matsuri]

Turning off the lights and moving the divine spirit from the main shrine of Yasaka Jinja to mikoshi (portable shrine). (You can watch the event at Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 16th Yoi Yama (saki-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yamahoko are lit up, and the festive music gion bayashi is played.(You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are traffic regulations, vehicle-free areas and street stalls.)

 

 

 

 

[July 16th evening Yoimiya Shinshin Hounou Shinji]

Bugaku (court dances and music) and such are performed at the bottom of stone steps of Yasaka Jinja (shrine) and dedicated to the deities. (The event can be watched from Shijo Street Gion Shopping Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 16th 18:30 Iwami Kagura]

Iwami kagura (Japanese folklore performance) is dedicated to the deities at Yasaka Jinja (shrine). (You can watch the event at Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 16th Around 21:00 Hiyori Kagura (saki-no-matsuri)]

Yamahokocho (the towns which preserve floats used for the festival) which have hayashikata (those who play hayashi music) play gion bayashi while heading to otabisho (facility that serves as the temporary destination or midway resting point of a mikoshi in the middle of its ritual procession), dedicate the hayashi and pray for the good weather. (You can watch it at otabisho or on Shijo Street.)  

 

 

 

 

[July 17th 9:00 Yamahoko Junko (saki-no-matsuri)]

23 yamahoko for saki-no-matsuri depart from Shijo Karasuma. (You can watch the event on the parade route such as Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 17th 16:00 Shinkosai]

3 mikoshi (portable shrine) depart from Yasaka Jinja (shrine), go around Ujikocho and head to otabisho (Otabi Kyoto). (You can watch it on the parade route such as Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

 

[July 18th to 21st Yamahoko Tate (ato-no-matsuri)]

Building 10 yamahoko for ato-no-matsuri. (You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko.)

 

 

 

 

[July 20th 15:00 Yamahoko Hikizome Kakizome]

Anyone can try carrying a yamahoko float (Kita Kannon Yama 15:00, Minami Kannon Yama 15:00, Oofune Hoko 15:00, Hachiman Yama 16:00). Hachiman Yama is for watching only. (You can carry a float or watch the event on Shinmachi Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 21st 11:00 Kakiyama Kakizome]

Kakizome (the first time that a float is carried) of kakiyama (Hashi Benkei Yama 11:00) can be watched. (You can watch the event on Tako Yakushi Street.)

 

 

 

[July 21st Yoi Yoi Yoi Yama (ato-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yamahoko are lit up, and the festive music gion bayashi is played.(You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are no vehicle-free areas or street stalls.)

 

 

 

 

[July 21st to 23rd Byoubu Matsuri (ato-no-matsuri)]

Family treasures such as a byoubu (folding screen) are exhibited at machiya (townhouse) in yamahokocho (the towns which preserve floats used for the festival). (You can watch it from the street. There might be a charge.)

 

 

 

 

[July 22nd Yoi Yoi Yama (ato-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yamahoko are lit up, and the festive music gion bayashi is played.(You can watch the event at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are no vehicle-free areas or street stalls.)

 

 

 

 

[July 23rd Yoi Yama (ato-no-matsuri)]

Komagata chochin (paper lanterns) on yoi yama yamahoko for ato-no-matsuri are lit up, and gion bayashi music is played. (The event can be watched at the assembly area for each yamahoko. There are no vehicle-free areas or street stalls.)  

 

 

 

 

[July 23rd Around 20:30 Hiyori Kagura (ato-no-matsuri)]

Yamahokocho (the towns which preserve floats used for the festival) which have hayashikata (those who play hayashi music) play gion bayashi while heading to otabisho (facility that serves as the temporary destination or midway resting point of a mikoshi in the middle of its ritual procession), dedicate the hayashi and pray for the good weather. (You can watch it at otabisho or on Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 23rd Around 23:00 Minami Kannon Yama Abare Kannon]

Yoryu Kannon (willow Bodhisattva), the main deity of Minami Kannon Yama, is placed on the rendai (lotus-shaped pedestal) on the yama float, and is swung around the town. (You can watch it within the town of Minami Kannon Yama.)  

 

 

 

 

 

[July 24th Around 9:30 Yamahoko Junko]

10 yamahoko for ato-no-matsuri depart from Shijo Karasuma. (You can watch the event on the parade route such as Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 24th Around 10:00 Hanagasa Junko]

Kasa Hoko (umbrella float) and such parade from Yasaka Jinja (shrine), and after the parade, dedicate the dances at Yasaka Jinja. (You can watch the event on the parade route or Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 24th 17:00 Kankosai]

3 mikoshi (portable shrine) depart from otabisho (Otabi Kyoto), go around Ujikocho and head to Yasaka Jinja (shrine). (You can watch the event on the parade route such as Shijo Street.)

 

 

 

 

[July 25th 13:00 Kyogen Hounou]

Shigeyama kyogen (kyogen, a form of traditional Japanese theater, performed by Shigeyama troupe) is dedicated to the deities at Yasaka Jinja (shrine). (You can watch the event at Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

 

 

[July 28th 18:00 Mikoshi Arai]

Cleansing with a torch from Yasaka Jinja (shrine) to Shijo Ohashi (bridge), carrying the mikoshi (portable shrine) from Yasaka Jinja to Shijo Ohashi, and cleansing it with the holy water. (You can watch the event on Shijo Street in the area from Yasaka Jinja to Shijo Ohashi.)

 

 

 

 

[July 31st 10:00 Eki Jinja Nagoshisai]

Passing through a chinowa (cogon grass ring) placed on a torii (gateway of a shrine) at Eki Jinja, the keidai sessha (small shrine) at Yasaka Jinja (shrine) and a gofu (amulet) is given to those who have done so. (You can watch the event at Yasaka Jinja.)

 

 

*Event information (schedule, places and contents) is for reference only. The details regarding the events and such are subject to change.