"Gion Matsuri" is a large festival held by Yasaka-jinja Shrine with over 30 events in the month of July. The origin of this festival was a religious ritual to calm the plague that spread all over the country in 869.
The highlight of this festival is "Yamahoko Junko" held on the 17 and 24. In this event, over 30 decorated floats called "Hoko" and "Yama" are pulled by people and paraded around town. It is registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Local children and adults ride on Yamahoko and play the festival music with whistles and bells to boost the festival mood. In the evening after the Yamahoko Junko is over, Shinkosai is held at Yasaka-jinja Shrine. Watching over a thousand men wearing Happi (loose informal Japanese coat) and carrying Mikoshi (portable shrines) is sheer excitement.
Also, we recommend event packed Yoiyama, which is the pre-festival of "Yamahoko Junko". From the 14 through 16, Yamahoko are built on the street for 3 days, and you can see inside of the Yamahoko during that time. "Byobu Matsuri" is held where old families and long established stores present their treasured byobu (decorative screens), kimono, and paintings and calligraphic works. There will be roadside stands that sell snacks and sweets unique to Japan.
◎For a comfortable experience, reserved seats with live English commentary for the Gion Matsuri festival are available on Voyagin.
*Ticket prices may vary depending on where the purchase is made.