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Gion matsuri festival in Kyoto 2022: Let us enjoy Mikoshis, Yamahoko floats, and Yoiyamas!!! 祇園祭2022英語で説明

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Introduction

たけちよ
たけちよ

EXCLUSIVE!!! Takayama come backs to Yamahoko Parade for the 1st time in 196 years!!!
CONGRATULATIONS
and WELCOME BAAAAAHCK!!!

We can enjoy ALL OF THEM for the 1st time in 3 years.

たけちよ
たけちよ

In addition to them, Takayama is to come back to the parade for the 1st time in 196 years!!! Welcome baaaaahck!!!!!Check the link below.

TAKAYAMA COME BACK SPECIAL 2022 in Gion Matsuri!!! 祇園祭鷹山英語で説明
Takayamma is one of the long-lost Yamahoko floats in Gion matsuri. In 2022, it will come back to the parade for the first time in 196 years.

This Darticle is the most precise guide on Gion matsuri festival in Kyoto; its schedule, history, the reason why it is celebrated,  the routes of Yamahoko parade, Yoiyama, souvenirs, and other must-sees.

 いちきしま ひめ
 いちきしま ひめ

In 2019, we commemorated the new Imperial era and

the 1150th anniversarry of Gion matsuri!

We had many events we don’t have in any other year!

たけちよ
たけちよ

More info. to enjoy Gion matsuri, BAAH!

また、その他の各論は、本文の中でも適宜ご紹介しますが、以下のカテゴリをご参照ください。尚、本サイトには英語版の記事も多数取り揃えておりますので、興味のある方

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

Attention: This article is subject to be revised.

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Gion Matsuri 2022

Overview

たけちよ
たけちよ

令和四年/2022年は関係者様の多大なご尽力により、特段の事情なき限り、ほぼ例年同様の態様での開催が決定しました。この場をお借りしまして謝意を申し上げるとともに、祇園祭の無事の開催、並びに皆様のご健康とご多幸を祈念申し上げます。合掌

On June 23, Yasaka shrine and Yamahoko Rengo Kai (Yamahoko float association) held a press conference prior to Gion Matsuri 2022 and a chief priest of Yasaka Shrine pointed out:

  1. Yasaka shrine emphasizes the authentic aim of Gion Matsuri: To get rid of epidemics.
  2. The Deities visit on Mikoshis and stay at Otabisho .
  3. In 2022, the doors of the main hall was opened at a ritual for the fist time in 60 years. At the rituals held in Gion Matsuri, the doors will be opened up for us.
  4. At Sakimatsuri Yoiyama (7/15) and Yoiyoiyama(7/16), around 600 food, game, and souvenir stands will be available.
  5. Takayama is to come back to Yamahoko Parade for the first time in 196 years.

1 The authentic aim Gion Matsuri

In 869, Gion Matsuri started as Goryoe for the purpose of getting rid of Ekijin. People believed that Ekijin is a deity who causes epidemics and natural disasters.

These years, the word “Gion  Matsuri” often reminds people, especially tourists, of Yamahok Parade. Only the denizens and Gion Matsuri-enthusiasts know the aim though the peculiar thing to Gion Matsuri is to get rid of epidemics.

いちきしま ひめ
いちきしま ひめ

Check the link below.

Why is Gion matsuri celebrated? 祇園祭の意味を英語で説明
Gion matsuri has changed in many ways but its aim reminds the same for 1150 years. In this article, you can learn the exact reason why Gion matsuri is celebrated.

In addition to it, the priest referred to the meaning of water as purifier in Shinto. In Shinto, we believe water is purifier because deities purify themselves in Japanese mythology. Under the main hall of Yasaka shrine, there is a well capped with a plaster rid.

It is possible to think that Yasaka shrine puryfies Kyoto through ground water. In ancient times, Shoshoi Mikoshi used to rest over a well of Shosoi Otabisho for the same effect.

2 Deities and Mikoshis

In Gion Matsuri, we invite the Deities of Ysaka shrine to the downtown to get rid of the cause of epidemics. This is the most important thing.

The last two years, they visit there on the Himorogis on the horse back. (Himorogi is a plant where deities descend to) Himorogi is an abbreviated way. This year they are visit us in the authentic way.

3 The doors opened up to us

The main hall is a place for deities, not for us. The doors are always closed even in rituals because the main hall is a sacred place. This year, to get rid of the epidemics, they will be open.

4 Yoiyamas

Yoiyama is a night on the eve of the Deities’ visit. It is one of the most exciting moments of Gion Matsuri. The last two years, it was canceled or abbreviated. In 2022, we can enjoy it as usual year.

5 Takayama comeback special 2022

Takayama is one of the long-lost Yamahoko floats. In 1826, Takayama paraded in a typhoon and wrecked. Two years later, a huge fire burned it out except Goshintai figurines and other parts. In 2022, a brand-new Takayama joins to the parade.

TAKAYAMA COME BACK SPECIAL 2022 in Gion Matsuri!!! 祇園祭鷹山英語で説明
Takayamma is one of the long-lost Yamahoko floats in Gion matsuri. In 2022, it will come back to the parade for the first time in 196 years.
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Breaking News 2022年最新情報

7/31

祇園祭の茅の輪お守り2022年疫神社夏越祭

Today, Gion Mtsuri 2022 was completed. I extend my deepest gratitude and respect for every single person engaged in the festival and all the reades. 合掌

7/24

7/20

シカさん
シカさん

The souvenirs of Takayama are available.

7/19

7/17

7/15 Yoi Yoi Yama 宵々山

Yoi Miya Sai宵宮祭

祇園祭宵宮祭2022

Now the Deities are on Mikoshis and ready for outing.

Yoi Yoi Yama 宵々山

祇園祭2022宵山混雑状況

シカさん
シカさん

ぎやあああああああ!!!!!

Yoiyama area is so crowded as usual year.

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

Tomorrow,オニのようにCROWDED.

There were a few Food stands.

7/14 Yoi Yoi Yoi Yama 宵々々山

たけちよ
たけちよ

Breaking report, 合掌

  • NO traffic regulations are in effect but lots of police officer are there.
  • We cannot stay around Naginata Hoko, and Kanko Hoko.
  • At 19:00, Chimaki of Naginata Hoko  are sold out.
  • We can get 4 Goshuin stamps at Kanko Hoko.
  • At Yamabushi Yama Kaisho, we can admire brad-new Mizuhikis (somthing like carpets decolate floats.) . Buy something at Yamabushiyama to see them.  Usual year, we exercise Chinowakuguri but it’s not available this year due to COVID-19. 3 types of Goshuin stamps are available.
  • Ofune Hoko Kaisho is open in Sakimatsuri. Goshuin stamps and souvenirs are available. This year, Ofune Hoko parades with a golden dragon. It makes Ryuto Gekishu with Fune Hoko.
  • At Toroyama Kaisyo, most of all T-shrits are sold out.
  • It takes about 90 minutes to see all of Yamahoko floats except Hosho Yama. It will take much more time on 15th and 16th.
  • In Yoiyama, it’s hot because there are lots of people around us. Take water or smth when feeling thirsty.

お福さん
お福さん

Make sure what Ryuto Gekishu boats are.

祇園祭2022宵山

シカさん
シカさん

Typical Sakimatsuri bleu. We cannot expect this in Atomatsuri.

祇園祭2022宵山混雑状況

Shijo street is not crowede as expected.

祇園祭2022宵山混雑状況祇園祭2022宵山混雑状況

So is Yoiyama area.

函谷鉾御朱印2022函谷鉾御朱印2022

たけちよ
たけちよ

Kanko Hoko has 4 types Goshiin stamps. 1 and 2 is available any other years except ”令和四年.” ”令和四年” is our Imperial year. Get both of them at a Tent located east to Kanko Hoko. 3 is available at the one to located west to it. 4 is available at the one to located west to it. Each one of them is 300 JPY.

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

4 is peculiar. Soラブリー( Rabu Ry, lovely)

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心得

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Schedule 2022

DateHoursEVENTS
1st10:00Naginatahokocho Osendo
長刀鉾町御千度
Ochigosan and the neighbourhood association of Naginata Hoko pay a visit to Yasaka shrine.
2nd11:30Yamahoko Rengokai Shasan
山鉾連合会社参
Members of Yamahoko Rengokai association pay a visit to Yasaka shrine.
6th14:00Hamo Hono Hokoku Sai
鱧奉納奉告祭
The Tourism Assosiation of Awaji dedicates Hamo fishes.
7th14:30Ayagasahoko Chigo Shasan
綾傘鉾稚児社参
Ochigosan and the neighbourhood association pay a visit to Yasaka shrine.
10th13:00Japanese Mythology Reading
日本神話語り奉納
Story tellers’ dedication of Japanese Mythology.
Omukae Chochin
お迎え提灯
CANCELED
18:00~Mikoshi Arai Shiki
神輿洗式
Mikoshi is cleansed at Yasaka Shrine.
11th14:00Noh Dedicaiton
金剛流能奉納
At Yasaka Shrine.
13th11:00Naginatahoko Chigo Shasan
長刀鉾稚児社参
Ochogosan pays a visit to Yasaka shrine on his steed.
Kuze Chigo Shasan
久世稚児社参
The counsil of Ayato Kuninaka shrine pays a visit to Yasaka shrine.
15th10:00Ikamaryuu Hocho Honoshiki
生間流包丁奉納式
In the main hall of Yasaka shrine.
15:00Dedication of Traditional Preformances
祇園祭伝統芸能大会
Imayo, and others.
20:00Yoimiya Sai
宵宮祭
Preiests lead the Deities in to Mikoshi.
16th9:00Kencha Sai
献茶祭
At Yasaka Shrine.
18:30Iwami Kagura Hono
岩見神楽
The Kagura performance tells a story of the Deity.
23:00Hiyori Kagura
日和神楽
The musicians of Yamahoko floats dedicates Kagura music to the Deities at Otabisho.
17th9:00Yamahoko Parade
山鉾巡行
For the 1st time in 3 years!!!
18:00Gosinrei Togyo Sai
御神霊渡御祭
3 Mikoshis head for Otabisho.
23rd9:00Sencha Kencha Sai
煎茶献茶祭
At Yasaka Shrine.
24th9:30Yamahoko Parade
山鉾巡行
For the 1st time in 3 years!!!
Hanagasa Parade
花傘巡行
CANCELED
Around 21:00Kanko Sai
還幸祭
3 Mikoshis return Yasaka shrine.
25th11:00Kyogen Hono
狂言奉納
At Yasaka Shrine.
18:30Mikoshi Arai Shiki
神輿洗式
At Yasaka Shrine.
31st10:00Eki Jinja Nagoshi Sai
疫神社夏越祭
At Eki Jinja shrine, in Yasaka shrine.
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The order of Yamahoko Parade 2022

Intorduction

The order of Yamahok Parade of the year depends on lottery except fixed ones since 1500. The following is the order of 2022.

Saki Matsuri

1くじ取らず(FIXED)長刀鉾(Naginata Hoko
2山壱番(Yama 1st)孟宗山(Moso Yama)
3山弐番(Yama 12nd)保昌山(Hosho Yama)
4山参番(Yama 3rd)郭巨山(Kakkyo Yama)
5くじ取らず(FIXED)函谷鉾(Kanko Hoko)
6山四番(Yama 4th)白楽天山(Hakurakuten Yama)
7傘壱番(kasa 1st)四条傘鉾(Sijo Kasahoko)
8山五番(Yama 5th)油天神山(Abura Tenjin Yama)
9鉾壱番(Hoko 2nd)月鉾(Tsuki Hoko)
10山六番(Yama 6th)蟷螂山(Toro Yama)
11山七番(Yama 7th)山伏山(Yamabushi Yama)
12山八番(Yama 8th)霰天神山(Araretenjin Yama)
13鉾弐番(Hoko 2nd)鶏鉾(Niwatori Hoko)
14山九番(Yama 9th)木賊山(Tokusa Yama)
15傘弐番(Kasa 2nd)綾傘鉾(Ayagasa Hoko)
16山拾番(Yama 10th)占出山(Urade Yama)
17鉾参番(Hoko 3rd)菊水鉾(Kikusui Hoko)
18山拾一番(Yama 11th)芦刈山(Ashikari Yama)
19山拾弐番(Yama 12th)伯牙山(Hakuga Yama)
20山拾参番(Yama 13th)太子山(Taishi Yama)
21くじ取らず(FIXED)放下鉾(Hoka Hoko)
22くじ取らず(FIXED)岩戸山(Iwato Yama)
23くじ取らず(FIXED)船鉾(Fune Hoko)

Ato Matsuri

1くじ取らず(FIXED)橋弁慶山(Hashibenkei Yama)
2くじ取らず(FIXED)北観音山(Kita Kannnon Yama)
3山壱番(Yama 1st)浄妙山(Jyomyo Yama)
4山弐番(Yama 12nd)鯉山(Koi Yama)
5山参番(Yama 3rd)鈴鹿山(Suzuka Yama)
6くじ取らず(FIXED)南観音山(Minami Kannon Yama)
7山四番(Yama 4th)役行者山(En no Gyojya Yama)
8山五番(Yama 5th)黒主山(Kuronushi Yama)
9山六番(Yama 6th)八幡山(Hachiman Yama)
10くじ取らず(FIXED)鷹山(Taka Yama)
11くじ取らず(FIXED)大船鉾(Ohfune Hoko)

2021

2020

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Why is “Gion matsuri” festival celebrated ?

Gion matsturi festival (祇園祭) is one of the most famous “matsuri (festival)” in Japan. The word “Gion” means a name of a small area in the eastern part of Kyoto city. It was named after the former name of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) which holds Gion matsuri festival.

So, let me show you the short history of the shrine.

A short history of Yasaka shrine

八坂神社の手水舎

The foundation of Yasaka shrine remains to be secret because of its long history. At least in the 9th century, the shrine was known as Gion-kanjinin (祇園感神院), or Gion-sha (祇園社),the Buddhist temple. This sounds very strange because Yasaka shrine is a Shinto shrine today. Why was a Shinto shrine a Buddhist temple?

In ancient Japan, both Shinto and Buddhism were fused. Shinto is a religion indigenous to Japan. It is a kind of animism and a code for a small community. On the other hand, Buddhism was a religion brought to Japan from ancient India in 6th century. When our ancestors saw the introduction of Buddhism, they did not fall away Shinto. They fused both of these religions and reconstructed them as a new belief instead. That is one of the typical and characteristic way of thinking Japanese people take. If we find something interesting and it is no harm to the members of society, we just adopt it.

Now go back to the word “Gion (祇園)“. As a Budhhist temple, former Yasaka shrine worshiped Gozu-tenno (牛頭天王) as a Buddhist Deity. Gozu-tennowas a guardian of Gion-shoja( 祇園精舎、Jatavana). So former Yasaka shrine was called Gion-kanshinin, or Gion-sha.Take a look at the picture above. It is a photo of small reservoir where visitors purify themselves. You can see engraved Kanji letters. They read Kanjinin (感神院).

This is a short history of Yasaka shrine. Now make it clear that why Yasaka shrine holds Gion matsuri festival in the following chapter.

The beginning of Gion matsuri festival

神泉苑

The history of Gion matsturi festival dates back to 869. At that time in Kyoto, many people suffered smallpox, dysentery, and other epidemics because of hot and damp whether and ill-prepared water supply. At the same time, whole Japan saw natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami and suffered huge expansion of maladies.

In those days, people thought evil spirit causes epidemics and natural disasters. The imperial court gave Urabeno-Hiramaro (卜部日良麻呂), the priest of Gion-sya,an order to hold Goryo-e, the ritual to calm down evil spirit at Shinsen-en (神泉苑),the largest pond in ancient Kyoto.(The picture above.).

上賀茂神社の剣矛

He put the spirit of Gozu-tenno, the Buddhist Deity, into one of three portable shrines and sent them from Gion-sya to Shinsen-en and placed 66 hokos (矛)there (We don’t have exact idea of their appearance but I suppose they looked like these hokos in the picutre above). His aim was to put the evil spirits together and have them descended to the hokosand ask Gozu-tenno to get rid of them.

This ritual is called Gion-goryo-e, the origin of Gion matsuri festival. In the begging, the Goryo-ewas held when epidemics expanded, and became annual event in 970. Since then, the festival was carried on for 1000 years despite of some interruption.

Gion matsuri festival today

御旅所

As indicated before, Shinto and Buddhism was fused and Shinto shrines and Buddhist temple were confused. In 1868, the Meiji government gave an order to shrines and temples. They were forced to make decision to be a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple in terms of law. Gion-kanshininchoose to be a Shinto (神道) shrine.It became Yasaka shrine and Gion-Goryo-e (御霊会) was renamed as Gion matsuri.

The fact that the Buddhist temple became a Shinto shrine does not mean a reincarnation of the Gion matsuri. Many documents prove that Gion-kanshinin worked and was considered as Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine: it held Buddhist ritual and that of Shinto.

That is a reason why the principle of Gion matsuri festival still remains the same though 1000 years of its history. People bring Deitieson the portable shrines and ask them to get rid of evil spirits which gathered around hoko.

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What to see in Gion matsuri festival?

Yamaboko float Parade (山鉾巡行)

 

函谷鉾大船鉾

The hokos in Gion goryo-eis believed to developed into Yamahokos/Yamabokos (山鉾). At the first time, people held hokos by the hand. In Muromachi period (1336 – 1573), they are on the carriage called Hokosya (鉾車). At the end of the period, the hokosya began to be decorated with ornaments as Yamahoko of these days. Yamahoko was decided to be registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage on last November.

Yoiyama festival (宵山)

前祭 宵山前祭 宵山

Yoiyama (宵山) is the most popular event in Gion matsuri festival. When twilight comes, paper lanterns on Yamahokos are lit and the musicians of Hokos begin to play Ohayashi (お囃子) music.(See the video above.)

前祭宵山祇園祭2016 後祭

On the Yoiyama days, Yamahokos almost dress full except some ornaments and Goshintai(御神体).

祇園祭2016 後祭

Yoiyama is the most popular event in Gion matsuri festival. It is also known as Byobu matsuri. Byobu is a Japnese traditional partition. During the period of Yoiyama, Yamahoko neighbors let the visitors see their treasures such as Byobu (屏風) and paintings inside of their house. Let us see the picture above. It is a Byobu that the golden boards on which cranes and pine trees printed. In front of it, there is a Japanese traditional strumming instrument called Koto. Behind in you can see Ikebana, the Japanese traditional flower arrangement and a painting.

Gion bayashi (祇園囃子)

Gion bayashi is a kind of Ohayashi. As usual, Ohayashi is music played in matsuri (festival) to cheer it up. But I’m not sure we can find anything cheering in the Gion bayashi because Gion matsuri festival is not only for us but also for the deceased.

Souvenirs of Gion matsuri festival

The most popular souvenirs in Gion matsuri is Chimaki (粽).

函谷鉾の粽

Chimaki is an amulets you can have at Yamohokos and their headquarters. We usually put it on the entrance of our home.

疫神社夏越祭の茅輪

This is the origin of Chimaki called Chinowa (茅の輪). It is a wreath made of plant called Chigaya.The following is a story about it.

Once upon a time, Susanoo-no-mikoto (素戔嗚尊) was on his Odyssey. He asked for one night stay to Kotan-shorai (巨旦将来). He denied it though he was very wealthy but his brother Somin-shorai (蘇民将来) accept it though he suffered in poverty. The next morning, Susanoo-no-mikoto said to him that he will save hid descendants from any maladies and asked him to make his descendants put on Chinowa as a mark.

函谷鉾の粽

Take a close look at Chimaki. You can see the kanjis on the left side. They read “蘇民将来之子孫也”. These mean “The descendants of Somin-syorai.“.

鯉山の茅の輪守り鯉山の茅の輪守り

You can also have Chinowa amulets at some Yamahokos. The Chinowa in the picture is sold at Koiyama.

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Access to Gion matsuri festival

Usually, taking Kyoto city bus is the most easiest way to access to any where in Kyoto but bus route is subject to be changed in July.

 いちきしま ひめ
 いちきしま ひめ

Attention!

The routes of Kyoto city bus are to be changed during Gion Matsuri period. It would be better to take trains and subways indicated below.

Take Kyoto municipal subway, Hakyu railways and Keihan railways.

Stations are;

Sijyo station (Kyoto municipal subway)

Karasuma station (Hakyu railways)

Shijo kawaramchi station (Keihan railways)

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