Friday, 14 August 2009

The last part of Gion Matsuri festival

Kanko-sai/ Gion festival, Kyoto
祇園祭環幸祭 (京都)

I apologize again to anyone who follows my blog for not posting a while. Since I last posted I twice travelled to the north again. As I haven’t even posted my journey in June my photo folder has been getting bigger and bigger. I don’t know where to start …

In the last posting I explain about Gion Matsuri festival which runs the whole month of July and I want to add one more festival event, which takes place on the 24th of July around my area.

The float parade of the festival is far better known. I didn’t know about other events until I moved into the parish of my local shrine. In brief the festival is divided in two parts: float related events and portable shrine related events.
All the floats are built between the 10th and 13th and the procession takes place on the 17th. Where as the portable shrines are washed and cleansed in the Kamo river, which runs through the centre of the city, on the 10th. (Mikoshi-arai shiki) On the evening of procession the portable shrines leave Yasaka shrine carried by many men and parade through the city, they reside temporarily at Shijo Otabisho which is on the Shijo street near Shinkyogoku and Teramachi shopping arcades until the 24th. You can see the portable shrines placed in the middle of the high street for only those 2 weeks. On the 24th is the return parade to Yasaka shrine.

Unlike the other Kyoto city festivals this parade is noisy and lively. Year by year I’m becoming more familiar with this event and I’m looking forward to seeing the arrival of the shrines in my neighbourhood next year.

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