Gion Matsuri Festival Ato-matsuri grand parade was held on July 24th 2017. 10 Yamahoko floats colored the city of Kyoto beautifuly.
Actually, Saki maturi (Former festival) and Ato matsuri (Latter festival) were unified in 1966. Ato matsuri hadn’t held for 48 years because of the traffic conditions and the cost of the festival.
Why Ato matsuri revivi on 24th July, 2014?
The reason is in order to pass original form of Gion Matsuri Festival, that has continued more than a thousand years down the generations correctly.
Another reason is the revival of ‘Ofunehoko’ float for the first time in 150 years.
Ofunehoko was burned out because of ‘Hamagurigomon no hen’ (Conspiracy of Hamaguri-gomon Gate) in 1864. After that, Ofunehoko had taken part in the Gion Matsuri festival only for exhibiting decorations left.
However, for the fruits of people’s labor, including people who live in Hokocho (town with Hoko float), Gion-bayashi music revived ,and Hoko body and decorations were made anew. Finally, Ofunahoko revived together with Ato matsuri in 2014.
Then, what is big difference between Saki-matsuri and Ato-matsuri?
|Saki matsuri||Ato matsuri|
|Date||July 17th||July 24th|
|The number of floats||23 floats||10 floats|
|Procession route||rotating counterclockwise||rotaing clockwise|
|The number of visitors||220,000||75,000|
While there are 23 Yamahoko floats in Saki matsuri, there are only 10 Yamahoko floats in Ato matsuri, and the procession route is also different. In ato matsuri, Yamahoko floats left Karasuma Oike street, and performed ‘Kuzi aratame’ (procession order confirmation.) in front of Kyoto city hall.
It is easy to get a space in the front row, because there are not so many people as compared to Saki-matsuri. You can see the parade leisurely in the front row along Oike street.
If you want to see ‘Tsuzi mawashi’, you should stay at Kawaramachi Oike street or Shijo Kawaramachi street. If you like to keep in the shade, Kawaramachi street or Shijo street arcade are better.
Although there are only 10 floats, I’m sure that you will be moved by punch of the beautiful floats.
In addition, ’Hanagasa Junko’ is also held at the same time as Ato matsuri. Hanagasa Junko started when Saki maturi and Ato matsuri were unified in 1966. It has elements of performing art compared to Yamahoko Junko.
In Ato matsuri, you can leisurely see Yamahoko floats while listening to Gion-bayashi music. Also, you are not so much crushed by the crowd and you can enjoy the festive mood in Yoi yama of Ato matsuri.
Please feel the special atmosphere that you can only be experienced in Ato-matsuri!