No Yamahoko Float Parades in Kyoto's Gion Festival This Summer

Society Culture

Kyoto, April 20 (Jiji Press)--No Yamahoko float processions will be held in Kyoto's Gion Matsuri Festival, one of the so-called three biggest festivals of Japan, this summer, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it was announced Monday.

The float parades, the culmination of the traditional festival in the western Japan city, were scheduled for July 17 and 24. In normal years, many spectators gather alongside the parade courses, a situation that is likely to raise infection risks.

The cancellation is the first since 1962, when the parades did not take place due to underground work by a train company.

"We have taken a gut-wrenching decision," said Ikujiro Kimura, head of an organizing group for the Gion festival. "It's exactly the time to pray for the expulsion of plague by holding the festival on a grand scale, but we have to prevent many people from gathering, in order to curb the spread of the new coronavirus."

The Gion festival's origin is believed to be people praying for the end of an epidemic during the Heian period in Japan in the eighth to 12th century.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press