Friday, 17 July 2009

Gion Matsuri festival

Gion festival, Kyoto

I apologize to anyone who follows my blog for not posting a while. I was away travelling around northern Japan. It was very pleasant, much cooler than here though there were many rainy days. I’d like to tell you about the places I visited, but I’ll do it soon when I sort out my photos. Instead I’ll tell you about my city’s biggest festival today.

The city has lots of festivals here and there, some are significant and some are not. The most loved and biggest in scale is Gion-matsuri festival, it runs almost the whole month of July. The best known part, and highlight, of the festival is the procession which was conducted today.

The last 3 nights the central area of the city was closed to all traffic and lots of stalls selling snacks line all the streets. I read that 100,000 people visited the city, many wearing yukata, the cotton kimono for summer, strolling in the massive crowds to enjoy the festival.

I didn’t go this year, but I live near by and the area is on my way to work so I saw the crowds gathering from early evening. It looked very packed as usual.

I most like the early morning scene with the big yamaboko floats resting peacefully in the quiet streets before the heat of the day builds up.

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