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Gion Matsuri 2011 / Schedule

Dates: Throughout July (annually); see below for the event schedule.
Place: Goin-cho, Kyoto City, Japan

Kyoto's Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival) is one of Japan's most historic and largest festivals. It spans the entire month of July and has been held annually since 970. In 869 the festival began as a ritual to appease the gods who were believed to be causing plagues and pestilence, but by 970 it had been decreed an annual event and in 1533 when all religious events were ordered to be stopped, the festival became what it is today.

Today the festival still spans an entire month, but the highlight of the festival is the Yamaboko Junko Parade on the 17th and the 3 days prior, which are collectively as Yoiyama. During the evenings of Yoiyama, some locals open their homes to the public and display such things as traditional kimonos, art collections and other valuables. This is referred to as Byobu Matsuri and it is a great opportunity to see traditional Japanese homes in Kyoto. The parade floats are also on display during Yoiyama, each selling their own special omamori or charms/talismans. Festival music and good food abound. On the big day of the parade, 32 elaborate floats are paraded through the streets, each to the sound of their own traditional music.

Below is the schedule of events from Wikipedia.

- July 1 through 5: Kippuiri, opening ceremony of festival, in each participating neighbourhood
- July 2: Kujitorishiki, lottery for the parade order, in the municipal assembly hall
- July 7: Shrine visit by chigo children of Ayagasaboko
- July 10: Lantern parade to welcome mikoshi portable shrines
- July 10: Mikoshi arai, cleansing of mikoshi by sacred water from the Kamo River
- July 10 through 13: Building-up of floats
- July 13 a.m.: Shrine visit by chigo children of Naginataboko
photo
(Chigo children of Naginataboko)

- July 13 p.m.: Shrine visit by chigo children of Kuse Shrine
- July 14: Yoiyoiyoiyama
- July 15: Yoiyoiyama
- July 16: Yoiyama
- July 16: Yoimiya shinshin hono shinji, dedicative art performances
- July 17: Parade of yamaboko floats
- July 17: Parade of mikoshi from Yasaka Shrine to the city
- July 24: Parade of hanagasa or "flower parasols"
- July 24: Parade of mikoshi from the city to Yasaka Shrine
- July 28: Mikoshi arai, cleansing of mikoshi by sacred water from the Kamo river
- July 31: Closing service at Eki Shrine

By TS on Jul 6, 2011
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tag : Kyoto, Cool Japan

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