Yamahoko Float Parade Returns in Kyoto's Gion Festival

Society Culture Guide to Japan

Kyoto, July 17 (Jiji Press)--A procession of decorative "yamahoko" floats was held in Kyoto's Gion Matsuri Festival on Sunday, for the first time in three years after a suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twenty-three yamahoko floats paraded on major streets in the western Japan city, a highlight of the traditional festival, which is said to be one of the country's three largest festivals.

The annual festival of Yasaka Shrine in the city's Higashiyama Ward originally started in the Heian period, in the eighth to 12th centuries, to pray for the end of an epidemic at the time.

The float parade was led by the "naginata hoko" float carrying a young child regarded as a divine messenger. Cheers and applause were raised from crowds when the floats staged "tsuji-mawashi" turns at crossings.

"The elegant scene appeared to represent Kyoto. It was worth watching," a woman, 74, from the central prefecture of Niigata, said excitedly.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press