The Gion Festival takes place annually in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. It originated as part of a purification ritual to appease the gods thought to cause fire, floods and earthquakes in 869.
Nowadays, it goes for the entire month of July and is crowned by a parade, the Yambuku Junko (山鉾巡行) on July 17 and July 24. There are near one million people come and join enjoying the festival every year, and recently, it has been made one of the Intangible Cultural Heritages.
Schedule of events
From 1st to 31th July.
July 15: Yoiyoiyama（Former parade）From 9:00〜23:00 shops are available.
July 16: Yoiyama（Former parade）
July 17: Parade of yamaboko junkos（山鉾巡行やまぼこじゅんぎょうFormer parade）
July 17: Parade of mikoshi from Yasaka Shrine to the city
July 24: Parade of yamaboko junkos（山鉾巡行やまぼこじゅんぎょうLatter parade）
July 24: Parade of mikoshi from the city to Yasaka Shrine
How to Purchase Ticket
Basically, it is free for watching all the parade and events.
But do not forget to bring some crash for those special food served at the food stands.
There are also special audience seats for watching the festival. 3180 JPY per person.
How to enjoy
During the 14th, 15th, 16th of Gion festival, there will be many food stands and shops opened from about 5pm. At those food stands , delicious food like Takoyaki（Octopus dumplings）, Yakitori ( grilled chicken), Karaage(fried chickens). And also, you can enjoy traditional Japanese games such as, Goldfish scooping, Lottery、and so on. Since most of the shops are for young couples, it is also a great spot for dating! Why not dress in Yukata and have a perfect day with your lover at Gion festival!
Watch Yamaboko Junko
Yamaboko Junko refers to the parade of Junko from all over Japan. Originally, it is the summer event to praying for no diseases and for every one’s health. All the Junkos are decorated with beautiful tapestries both from Nishijin (the finest in all of Japan) and imported from all over the world. In addition to the art, there are many traditional musicians and artists sitting in the Junkos. In 2009 Yamahoko was listed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Best place to watch
The most interesting thing to watch during Yamaboko Junko is Tsuji Mawashi, the direction changing at each corners. Junko cannot change its own direction, so ancient people came up with a genius idea to use bamboo and water to make it turning. You may want to ask that why is that so hard, in fact most of the Junko is over 1ton, some of them are even over 10tons! And still, it is never easy for modern human to move those Junkos!
Best Time to go
Each year, Gion festival can be quiet crowd, especially the highlight days, nearly three hundred thousand people come. So for those who want to enjoy Gion festival at ease, out suggestion is to go during day time (11am to 5pm) and pay special attention not to go there at 8pm to 9pm on 15th and 16th.
- From Kyoto station
Take Karasuma Line subway（to Kokusaikaikan Station）→Shijō Station
- From Osaka （Umeda Station）
Take Hankyu railway (to Kawaramachi Station) →Karasuma Station
Temperature in July can be really high, and it will reach its climax during Gion festivals as there are about 300 thousand people joining. Hence, it is quiet important to bring enough water and do not wear too much clothes.
Also pay attention to suntan!
With so many people joining the festival, it is better to check out the place of lavatory!
There are two lavatories nearby,
- Lavatory in kyotosensyokukaikan http://www.ksk.or.jp/access/
- Lavatory in Ikenobo College http://www.ikenobo-c.ac.jp/koutsu/
Tourist Attractions Nearby
We arrange tickets on your behalf!
Nozomi Co. Ltd. arranges tickets of various events held in all over Japan on your behalf. It only takes 3 minutes to make a request! It’s Fast・Easy・Convenient, so please use our service.
When making purchasing request to our company, we charge JPY 2000 per ticket as a service fee. Upon making purchasing request, please pay “ticket price + service fee”. If you wished the ticket to be delivered via mail, delivery fee must be paid as well. (Example) Ticket Fee Price x number + JPY 2000 Service Fee + Delivery Fee (We are using Japan Post’s EMS. For the price chart, please click here).
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