Gion Matsuri and beautiful pictures

Gion Matsuri

After an absence of 3 years, the festival will take place, but in minor from 1 > 31 july 2022.

Yoi Yama will be there, and the floats will be up. (not all)

It is not yet sure that food stalls will be present in the streets…

The attached photos are from previous years before the covid.

History of Gion Matsuri

It is one of the biggest Matsuri in Japan.

The birth of Gion matsuri dates back to 869, when the plague decimated a large part of the population.

Emperor Seiwa ordered the people to go and pray to the god at the Yasaka Jinja shrine. (Gionsha)

A religious event created to appease the gods in the face of the plague, but also, following fires, floods and earthquakes.


In 970, it was decreed that the event would be annual.

At the time of Edo (1603-1868), the festival was increasingly developed and used by the powerful merchant class who began to sponsor the tanks and thus influence the emperors or clan leaders.

The duration of the matsuri is + – months and takes place on July.


Starting on July 1, with the Shinto rites that have always occurred at the Yazaka Jinja (Gionsha), under the protection of the deity Gozu Tennō, protector of epidemics and the plague.

On the 2nd, a lottery ceremony was held in the meeting room of the Kyoto City Council to determine the order of the tanks during the parade.

On the 10th, the first tanks began to be mounted in the streets of Kyoto and by district, so that the mountain was finished on the evening of the 13th.

On the 14th, the popular street festivities take place in each district representing a chariot.

The set includes 32 tanks, each with their own symbols and protections.

The parade of the matsuri consists of two parts on the 17th or 24th.


Some tanks exceed 20 meters high and some wheels go up to 1.5 meters in diameter.

The wheels are fixed, it does not turn, so it is the men who force the arms with wooden crowbars to rotate the tanks.

In each chariot you have a treasure or the effigy of a protective god.

They are generally visible in the districts where the chariot is built and during the evenings, throughout the festivities.

There are two kinds of tanks

1. The floats which can go up to 12 tonnes and about twenty meters high.

Shoot 40 to 60 people.

2. The fleets weigh 1200 to 1600 kg and a maximum height of 6 meters.

Pull by 14 to 24 people.

All the tanks do not take part in the two days (17 or 24), but remain visible in the streets for the pleasure of the population until the evening of July 24.

Photo: Jacky, Internet
Writer: Jacky De Greef
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