おすすめ/RECOMMENDED

三大祭、紅葉、名所などを厳選して記事とビデオでご紹介!
Recommended articles and videos, BAAH!

あ、ポチッとな/CLICK HERE!

Gion matsuri festival in Kyoto 2018! Why it is celebrated? It’s schedule, history, and Yamaboko floats!

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

Attention: This article is subject to be revised.

スポンサーリンク
  1. Why is “Gion matsuri” festival celebrated ?
    1. A short history of Yasaka shrine
    2. The beginning of Gion matsuri festival
    3. Gion matsuri festival today
  2. What to see in Gion matsuri festival?
    1. Yamaboko float Parade (山鉾巡行)
    2. Yoiyama festival (宵山)
    3. Gion bayashi (祇園囃子)
    4. Souvenirs of Gion matsuri festival
  3. Access to Gion matsuri festival
  4. Schedule of Gion matsuri festival
    1. Nagoshi no harae (夏越の祓), 30th June
      1. Chinowa Kuguri
      2. Minatsuki (水無月)
    2. Kipu-iri (吉符入), 1st July
    3. Decision of the order of Yamahoko parade (吉符入), 2nd July
      1. The order of 2019
        1. Sakimatsuri (前祭)
        2. Atomatsuri (後祭)
    4. Building Yamahokos, (鉾建て)10th July
      1. The construction of Hoko
      2. 10th
      3. 11th
      4. 13th
      5. 14th
    5. Purification of water for rituals (神用水清祓式), 10th July
    6. Reception with paper lantern (お迎え提灯), 10th July
    7. Purification of portable shrine (神輿洗式), 10th July
    8. Building Yamahokos, (鉾建て) 10th July
      1. 11日
      2. 12日
      3. 13日
      4. 14日
    9. Hikizome, (曳初め) 12th July
    10. Iki-Chigos of Nginata boko pay a visit to Yasaka shrine. 13th July
    11. Kuze Komagata chigos pay a visit to Yasaka shrine. (久世駒形稚児社参) 13th July
    12. Yoiyama festival of Sakimatsuri (前祭 宵山) from 14 to 16th July
      1. The must-see 1 “Byobu matsuri (屏風祭)”
      2. The must-see 2 “Kaisho kazari (会所飾り)”
      3. The must-see 3 “Gion bayashi (祇園囃子)”
      4. The must-see 4 “On Yamaboko (鉾にのる)”
      5. The must-see 5 “Souvenirs (授与品)”
      6. The must-see 6 “Gosyuin (御朱印)”
      7. The must-see 7 “Paper lanterns of midnight (夜の駒形提灯)”
    13. Yoimiya sai (宵宮祭) 15th July
    14. Hiyori Kagura (日和神楽) 16th July
    15. Yamaboko float parade (山鉾巡行) 17th July
    16. Shinko sai (神幸祭) 17th July
    17. Mikoshi Togyo (神輿渡御) 17th July
    18. Building Yamaboko floats (鉾山建て) 17th July
      1. 18th
      2. 19th
      3. 20th
      4. 21th
    19. Yoiyama festival of Atomatsuri (後祭 宵山) from 21 to 23th July
      1. Recommendation 1 Byobu-matsuri
        1. Koiyama 鯉山
        2. Hachimanyama 八幡山
        3. Kuronusiyama 黒主山
    20. Yamahoko parade (山鉾巡行) 24th July
    21. Hanagasa parade (花傘巡行) 24th July
    22. Kanko sai (還幸祭) 24th July
    23. Purification of water for rituals (神用水清祓式), 28th July
    24. Purification of portable shrine (神輿洗式), 28th July
    25. Nahoshi sai at Eki shrine (疫神社夏越祭), 31th July
  5. Mikoshi (Portable shrine) of Gion matsuri
    1. Naka goza (中御座)
    2. Higashi goza (東御座)
    3. Nishi goza (西御座)
  6. Yamahokos in Gion matsuri 2018
    1. Sakimatsuri
      1. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Naginata hoko
        1. What is Naginata boko?
        2. What does “Naginata” mean?
        3. Naginata boko never draws lottery
        4. Tapestries
        5. Constellation on the roof
        6. Sculptures and paintings (金字極彩色図)
        7. Turning around at corner
        8. Where can we find Naginata boko?
        9. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Naginata boko
      2. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kanko boko
      3. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kikusui boko
      4. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tsuki boko
        1. Paintings of Maruyama Okyo「金地著彩草花図」
        2. Sculptures of Hidari Jingoro 破風蟇股
        3. Paintings of The Tale of Genji on “Ogi”, fans 源氏物語 五十四帖
        4. Tapestries
        5. Ohayasi music of Tsukihiko 祇園囃子
        6. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tusk boko
      5. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Niwatori boko
      6. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hoko boko
      7. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Iwato yama
      8. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Fune boko
      9. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Yamabushi yama
      10. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Moso yama
      11. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Taishi yama
      12. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kakyo yama
      13. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hosyo yama
      14. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Aubura Tenjin yama
      15. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Shiho Kasa boko
      16. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Toro yama
      17. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hakuga yama
      18. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tokusa yama
      19. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Arare Tenjin yama
      20. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hakurakuten yama
      21. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ashikari yama
      22. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Urade yama
      23. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ayakasa hoko
    2. Atomatsuri
      1. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Kannon yama
      2. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Minami Kannon yama
      3. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Hashi benkei yama
      4. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of En no Gyoja yama
      5. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Koi yama
      6. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Hachiman yama
      7. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Suzuka yama
      8. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kuronushi yama
      9. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Jomyo yama
      10. Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ohfune boko

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-kanshinin (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?

Let us make a small inspection, shall we?

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 God. 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 Kanshinin (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 Kami(s) on the portable shrine(s) and ask them to get rid of evil spirits which gathered around hoko.

 

スポンサーリンク

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-e 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.

スポンサーリンク

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.

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)

 

スポンサーリンク

Schedule of Gion matsuri festival

Nagoshi no harae (夏越の祓), 30th June

Chinowa Kuguri

八坂神社の茅の輪

  Before Gion matsuri, we have “Nagoshi no harae (夏越の祓)” on 30th of June. It based on a ritual of imperial court held in June and November. We pass through a big wreath of “Chigaya” and let it take away anything evil within us.

Minatsuki (水無月)

Strongly recommended!

みな月

We eat “Minatsuki”, a Wagshi (Japanese traditinal confectionary) on 30th June. Many Wagashi parlor sell it only in June or July but we can have it at Fukueido 365 days a year.

祇園の月

I also recommend this “Dango” called “Gion no tsuki (The moon in Gion)” to you. You also have it there.

Kipu-iri (吉符入), 1st July

祇園祭2016 後祭

 In Kaisyo, the headquarters of Yamahoko, Goshintai is prepared. Goshintai is an object to which Shinto Kami (a kind of God) descends. Every Yamahoko has Goshintai.

If a Yamahoko has Ohayasi, the Japanese traditional orchestra played in matsuri, the players start to practice it. (See video.This is the Ohayashi of Ofuna-hoko)

Decision of the order of Yamahoko parade (吉符入), 2nd July

Lottery decides the order of Yamahoko parade. The custom started in 1500 to avoid conflict on the order of the parade.

The order of 2019

Sakimatsuri (前祭)

Not yet decided.

Atomatsuri (後祭)

Not yet decided.

Building Yamahokos, (鉾建て)10th July

Strongly recommended

The construction of Hoko

鉾建て 長刀鉾祇園祭 鉾建て

 They start to built Yamahokos of Sakimatsuri. The construction of Yamahokos are very simple. Builders put wooden pillars together with only ropes.This art is called nawagarami (縄絡み). NO nails are allowed. Only ropes are available.

鶏鉾の部品鶏鉾の部品

 These are parts of Niwatorihoko. Take a look at black wooden blocks. Red Kanjis are written on them. The Kanjis indicates where each blocks ought to be. These blocks make diagrams for construction. For example, the Kanjis on the block in the bottom of the picture indicate “On the north side of the east face (of Yamahoko), 6.”

鶏鉾の倉庫

 The parts of Yamohoko are in the warehouse near the headquarters.

鶏鉾の鉾建て鶏鉾の鉾建て

長刀鉾の荒縄

The construction workers building the Niwatori-hoko with ropes and wedges.

菊水鉾construction of hoko

These are the pictures of Kikusui hoko. Hoko has long horn called “Shingi (真木)”. The white line in the second picture stands for it. It is so long and heavy that hoko has pillars called “Kamuro bashira” (禿柱, in red line in the picture) which hold Shingi.

北観音山

On the other hand, some Yamas don’t have the Kamuro bashira. Kita kannnon yama resembles in appearance, but different in construction.

The ill-balanced construction make hokos swing when they march.

The following are the dates each Yamahoko-building starts

10th

 Naginata-hoko, Kanko-hoko, Tsuki-hoko, Niwator-hoko, and Kikusui-hoko

11th

 Hoka-hoko and Funa-hoko

13th

Ayakasa-hoko

14th

Sijo-kasa-hoko

Purification of water for rituals (神用水清祓式), 10th July

神用水清祓式2016神用水清祓式2016

 Shinto priests of Yasaka shrine head for the river Kamo by way of Chugenji temple. On the Shijo bridge, they draw the water with traditional buckets. The water is called Shinyo-sui (Water for Kami) . Priests bring the water to the altar on the river bank and purify it with their prayers. In the evening, portable shrine is purified with it.

神用水清祓式2016神用水清祓式2016

神用水清祓式2016神用水清祓式2016

Shinto priests purify water to wash a Mikoshi. They draw water with bucket on the Shijo bridge. The water was put into small wooden tubs and the priests take anything evil from the water.

Reception with paper lantern (お迎え提灯), 10th July

お迎え提灯

 About 350 persons march around the area of ancient Kyoto city and prepare for the portable shrines.

Purification of portable shrine (神輿洗式), 10th July

神輿洗式神輿洗式

Mikoshi, a portable shrine heads for the Shijo bridge. Gion matsuri festival has 3 mikoshis and one of them, “Nakagoza” is purified on the Shijo bridge. It is purified there with the water the priests draw in the morning. After the torches, the portable shrine moves toward the bridge.

神輿洗式の松明

 First of all, huge torches depart from Yasaka shrine. They make their way to Shijo bridge purifying the road where the portable shrine goes.

八坂神社の白朮祭

 These torches are lit up with Okerabi (朮火). Okerabi is fire and is made on 28th of December every year at Yasaka shrine. The fire is kept burning in main hall of the shrine and used in many rituals.

神輿洗式の松明の炭

 You may see the charcoal dropping from torches on the road. It saves you from bad luck.

神輿洗式

 The portable shrine was purified with the water on the bridge. Mikoshi is decorated with many ornaments but “Nakagoza” on this occasion doesn’t have them. It is very rare to see “raw” mikoshi.

神輿洗式

After the purification, Nakagoza goes back to Yasaka shrine.

祇園祭の神輿祇園祭の神輿

東御座西御座

西御座祇園祭の神輿

 On the return to the shrine, Nakagoza was ornamented right now. We can see fully dressed Mikoshis at Yasaka shrine for a week.

Building Yamahokos, (鉾建て) 10th July

 Building of Yamaboko floats starts.

11日

 Iwatoyama

12日

 Hosoyama, Yamabusiyama

13日

 Aburatenjinyama, Asikariyama, Araretenjinyama, Kakyoyama, Toroyama, Uredeyama, Tokusayama, Hakugayama, Hakurakutenyama

14日

 Mososyama

Hikizome, (曳初め) 12th July

After the Yamahoko-building, they have test-runs. On this occasion, anyone can trail Yamohokos. (I trailed Kikusui-hoko and Naginata-hoko actually!)

Iki-Chigos of Nginata boko pay a visit to Yasaka shrine. 13th July

長刀鉾稚児社参

Iki-Chigo (生稚児) is a boy considered and treated as a messenger of Kami (The center of the boys in the picture above.The boys of the both sides are kamuros.) He ride on the Naginatahoko on the day of Yamaboko float parade. On the day, there is a rope which divides sacred and secular world. He cut off the rope and the parade starts.

In the days of old, many Hokos have Chigo but only Nginataboko has Chigo these days. Other Hokos have Chigo figurine instead.

This visit is called Okrai morai because the shrine give him the same ranking as the feudal road.

Kuze Komagata chigos pay a visit to Yasaka shrine. (久世駒形稚児社参) 13th July

久世駒形稚児社参

 We have another Chigos. These boys called Kuze-Komagata chigo (久世駒形稚児). On the day of Mikoshi parade. They are treated as Kami himeself because they has Goshintai (An object which Kami descends to ) of Ayato Kuninaka shirine (綾戸國中神社).

Yoiyama festival of Sakimatsuri (前祭 宵山) from 14 to 16th July

駒形提灯

Yoiyama of Sakimatsuri is one of the most popular event in .Gion matsuri festival. 16th of July is the most crowded day.

The must-see 1 “Byobu matsuri (屏風祭)”

屏風祭屏風祭

As I indicated before, Yamahoko neighbors let you see inside of their houses and treasures.

The must-see 2 “Kaisho kazari (会所飾り)”

 

木賊山の会所飾岩戸山の会所飾

 In Yamahoko headquarters, you can see Goshintai and ornaments of Yamahokos.

祇園祭2016 後祭

 This is an ornament of Koiyama. You can visit to Koiyama headquarters during Sakimatsuri period though Koiyama belongs to Atomatsuri.

The must-see 3 “Gion bayashi (祇園囃子)”

During Yoiyama period, Each Yamahoko which has Obayashi begins to play them.

The must-see 4 “On Yamaboko (鉾にのる)”

船鉾に乗るところ

 You can be on Hokos.

The must-see 5 “Souvenirs (授与品)”

船鉾

 Each Yamahoko sells souvenirs like Chimaki and Tenugui hand towel. You better get them in the day time on 14th and 15th incase they are sold out.

The must-see 6 “Gosyuin (御朱印)”

山伏山の御朱印四条傘鉾の御朱印函谷鉾の御朱印

“Gosyuin (御朱印)” is a stamp you can have when you visit shrine and temple. Collecting Gosyuin is very popular in Japan these days. In Gion matsuri festival, we can have special Gosyuin of Yamahokos!

祇園祭の御朱印帖祇園祭の御朱印帖

A “Gosyuin book” is also available. You can buy it at bookstores and Yamahoko headquarters.

The must-see 7 “Paper lanterns of midnight (夜の駒形提灯)”

My recommendations are the nights of 14th and 15th. Around 10:00 a.m., most people came from outside of the city are on the way to home and the calm atmosphere arrives. In the heat of Matsuri night, we are brought away to somewhere we’ve never expected. Let us see the video below.

Yoimiya sai (宵宮祭) 15th July

Recommended

Shinto priests brings the spirits of Susanoo-nomikoto (素戔嗚尊), Kusinadahime-nomikoto (櫛稲田姫命), and Yahashira-nomikogami (八柱御子神) into the three portable shrines called Mikoshi. This ritual so sacred that no one allowed to take pictures.

In complete darkness, the priests led by small paper lantern coming out of main hall of Yasaka shrine. I suppose they have small boxes in which the sprits of Karmis are.(It is too dark to see. Every single lighting is shut down.)

They go to Buden where three Mikoshis stay and put the spirits into Mikoshis.

Hiyori Kagura (日和神楽) 16th July

日和神楽

Hayashikata (the musicians of Ohayashi) go to a place where Mikoshis stays for a week.

Yamaboko float parade (山鉾巡行) 17th July

Strongly Recommended

鶏鉾

 23 Yamoboko floats parade around the area of ancient Kyoto city to gather evil spirits.

 The highlight of Yamahoko parade is Tsujimawasi (Turning around of Yamahoko).

 Yamaboko floats are pulled by many people. Around wheels, there are some people to help them. When hoko is moving, men pushe wheels with sick and change hoko’s direction with something like oar.

Shinko sai (神幸祭) 17th July

久世駒形稚児久世駒形稚児/Kuzekomagatachigo

In Shinko sai, The boy called Kuze komagata chigo leads one of the three mikoshis to the area of ancient Kyoto city.

He is the most important figure in Gion matsuri festival. He has a horse head in the breast. It is “Goshintai” which the spitit of Susanono-mikoto descends to. With the Goshintai, he is considered as Kami himself. He has a privilege to enter the field of the shrine on his steed even though members of the royal family have to get off a horse.

Shinto Kami has two aspects. The one is fierce aspect called “Aramitama (荒御魂)”. It brings us anything bad like disasters, famine, malady, and so on. The another is peaceful aspect called “Nigimitama (和魂)”. It bring us anything good like harvest, peaceful state of mind, and so on.

In Ayato kuninaka shrine, “Aramitama” of Susanono mikoto is enshrined and that of “Nigimitama” is enshrined Yasaka shrine. The both of spirits is put together and and prepare for calm down the evil spirits.

Mikoshi Togyo (神輿渡御) 17th July

祇園祭 神輿渡御祇園祭 神輿渡御

 The most important event in Gion matsuri festival. Three Mikoshis depart Yasaka shrine and head for Otabisyo, where Mikoshis will be placed. They took different ways to reach there. They stay there for a week and come back to Yasaka shrine.

Building Yamaboko floats (鉾山建て) 17th July

 Building of Yamohoko floats for Atomatsuri starts.

18th

Sijyoumachi-Ofunahoko

19th

Kita-kannnon-yama, Mimami-kannnon-yama, and Koiyama

20th

Ennogyojya yama, Suzukayama, Kuronushiyama, and Jyomyoyama

21th

Hachimanyama and Hashibenkei-yama

Yoiyama festival of Atomatsuri (後祭 宵山) from 21 to 23th July

祇園祭 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

Strongly もんげー recommended ズラ!!!

As I indicated, Kami has two aspects and so Yoiyama is. Yoiyama of Atomatsuri carries on in a calm and quiet atmosphere. This reminds us of the traditional Gion matsuri festival took place hundreds of years ago.

四条通りの夕暮れ宵宮祭/Yaaska shrine at dusk

 Yoiyama starts when twilight arrives. They starts at almost the same time, but the sky is quite different. Enjoy the difference.

Recommendation 1 Byobu-matsuri

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

屏風祭屏風祭

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭

As I indicated before, Yamahoko neighbers open up their houses to the visitors during Yoiyama period. Byobu-matsuri in Atomatsuri is very stunning. It must take your breath away.

 The aliens indicate the places we can enjoy Byoubu matsuri.

Recommendation 2 “Kaisyo”, the Yamahoko headquarters

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

Koiyama 鯉山

鯉山駒形提灯祇園祭2016 後祭

 Koiyama is based on an ancient Chinese anecdote that a carp climb up the fall called “Dragon gate” and became a dragon. The wooden carp is a Goshintai of Koiyama. It i s believed to bring us prosperity. It is an amazing work of Hidari Jingoro, a famous sculptor in Edo period.

Let us see a Koiyama. It is decorated with beautiful something like curtains. They are pieces of a tapestry made in Belgium around 17th century. When Date Masamune, a general in Tohoku region sent a mission to Pope, he gave the mission five tapestries. Koiyama bought one of them from a temple in Tohoku in 18th century. It was cut into nine pieces to put on Koiyama.

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

The tapestry shows us a scene of Iliad written by Homer. Gion matsuri has nothing to do with Torojan war. Why Iliad? The answer is very simple. They put the tapestry on Koiyama because it was new to them. Yamahoko has two roles. The one is to gather evil spirits and the other is to entertain Kamis come to the ancient Kyoto city on Mikoshi. The strange tapestry was suitable for the latter role.

Hachimanyama 八幡山

八幡山祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

八幡山

八幡山

 Hachimanyama has a shrine emperor Ojin enshrined on it.

八幡山

 A pair of wooden doves right side are also made by Hidari Jingoro.

八幡山

 They are put on Torii gate.

八幡山の懸装品

 These exquisite cranes are made in Edo period.

Kuronusiyama 黒主山

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭大友黒主

 The goshintai is Otomo Kuronushi, a famous poet in Heian period.

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

We can see stunning carpets at Kuronushiyama.

 

Yamahoko parade (山鉾巡行) 24th July

後祭 山鉾巡行

 On the day, the spiris of Kamis go back to Yasaka shrine. Yamahoko parade also take place anew. They took the opposite direction of the Yamahoko parade of Saki matsuri.

Hanagasa parade (花傘巡行) 24th July

花傘巡行花傘巡行

Once Yamahoko parade of Atomatsuri was put together to that of Sakimatsuri , this Hanagasa parade introduced. Yamahoko parade devided into Sakimatsuri and Atomatsuri again i 2017, but Hanagasa parade was not abolished.

Kanko sai (還幸祭) 24th July

久世駒形稚児2016還幸祭 神泉苑

Three mikoshis come back to Yasaka shrine. Nakagoza goes there by way of Shinsen-en, where Ginomatsuri festival began some 1,000 years ago.

Purification of water for rituals (神用水清祓式), 28th July

The same ritual as held on the 10th of July is held on the Shijo bridge.

Purification of portable shrine (神輿洗式), 28th July

The same ritual as held on the 10th of July is held to purify three mikoshis.

Nahoshi sai at Eki shrine (疫神社夏越祭), 31th July

疫神社 夏越祭

At Eki shrine, the sub-shrine of Yasaka shrine, people pass through Chino-wa put on to Torii gate and let evil spirits go away. We can have Chigaya plant and make Chinowa with it. Susanono-mikoto saves us from anything evil.

This ritual is the end of Gion matsuri festival.

スポンサーリンク

Mikoshi (Portable shrine) of Gion matsuri

Naka goza (中御座)

祇園祭 2016 神輿渡御

 The most important Mikoshi in Gion matsuri festival. It brings the spirit of Susanoo-no-mikoto.

Higashi goza (東御座)

東御座

It brings the spirit of Kushinadahime-no-mikoto.

Nishi goza (西御座)

西御座

 It brings the spirit of Yahashira-no-mikogami.

スポンサーリンク

Yamahokos in Gion matsuri 2018

Sakimatsuri

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Naginata hoko

What is Naginata boko?

長刀鉾

Naginata hoko is the most popular and famous Hoko in Gion matsuri festival. Let us make an inspection.

What does “Naginata” mean?

Nginata is a traditional Japanese sword invented in Heian period. Naginata hoko has long naginata on the roof and that is the reason why it is called “Naginata hoko (A hoko that has Naginata) .

 

三条宗近像

The origin of the naginata dates back to Heian period. At that time, Sanjo Munechika, a famous sword smith dedicated a sword to Yasaka shrine praying for curing of his daughter’s illness. Rumors said that it cut off rope or hurt with only its shadow.

振鉾

In addition to its sharpness, it was also known for its power to take away evil spirits. The pitcture above shows a figurine of Sanjo Munechika ornamented under the roof of Naginata hoko.

Naginata boko never draws lottery

As indicated before, the order of Yamaboko float parade was decided on the lottery but Naginata hoko is always at the top of the parade because of its ability put away evil spirits.

斎竹斎竹

 On the day of the parade, there are two bamboos across the Shijo street. These bamboos are connected by a rope called “Shimenawa”. Shimenawa is a rope which devides sacred and secular world.

 When Naginata hoko approaches the Shimenawa, Ikichiho boy cut it off. This means it goes into a sacred world.

 

Tapestries

長刀鉾の胴懸長刀鉾の胴懸

Every Yamahoko has tapestries around body. These of Naginatahoko’s were made in ancient China and has old Arabic scripts. That is the reason why Yamaboko float is called “Moving museum”.

Constellation on the roof

長刀鉾の星辰28宿

 On the roof, there are ancient Chinese constellation.

Sculptures and paintings (金字極彩色図)

長刀鉾の金字極彩色図長刀鉾の金字極彩色図

長刀鉾の金字極彩色図

 The sculptures and paintings on the eaves. They are very impressive.

Turning around at corner

When Yamahoko turns around corner, it attracts many people.

 They put bamboos under the wheels when Yamahoko changes direction.

Where can we find Naginata boko?

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Naginata boko

長刀鉾の授与品2017 長刀鉾の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kanko boko

 

函谷鉾

函谷鉾の授与品2017函谷鉾の御朱印

 

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kikusui boko

菊水鉾

菊水鉾の授与品2017菊水鉾の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tsuki boko

Yamaboko float is called “Movable museum”. Tsuki boko is the most beautiful one  among Yamahoko floats of Gion matsuri festival. Tea party were sometimes held on Tsukihoko in Edo period.

Paintings of Maruyama Okyo「金地著彩草花図」

円山応挙 「金地著彩草花図」円山応挙 「金地著彩草花図」

Sculptures of Hidari Jingoro 破風蟇股

左甚五郎 破風蟇股

 

左甚五郎 破風蟇股

Paintings of The Tale of Genji on “Ogi”, fans 源氏物語 五十四帖

源氏物語 五十四帖

Tapestries

月鉾 前懸

月鉾 見送

Ohayasi music of Tsukihiko 祇園囃子

Where can we find Tsukihiko?

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tusk boko

月鉾の授与品2017月鉾の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Niwatori boko

鶏鉾

鶏鉾の授与品2017鶏鉾の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hoko boko

放下鉾

放下鉾の授与品2017放下鉾のご朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Iwato yama

岩戸山

岩戸山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Fune boko

船鉾

船鉾のご朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Yamabushi yama

山伏山

山伏山の授与品2017山伏山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Moso yama

孟宗山

孟宗山の授与品2017孟宗山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Taishi yama

太子山

太子山の授与品2017太子山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kakyo yama

郭巨山

郭巨山の授与品2017郭巨山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hosyo yama

保昌山

保昌山の授与品2017保昌山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Aubura Tenjin yama

油天神山

油天神山の授与品2017油天神山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Shiho Kasa boko

四条傘鉾

四条傘鉾の授与品2017四条傘鉾

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Toro yama

蟷螂山

蟷螂山の授与品2017蟷螂山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hakuga yama

伯牙山

伯牙山の授与品2017伯牙山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Tokusa yama

木賊山

木賊山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Arare Tenjin yama

霰天神山

霰天神山の授与品2017霰天神山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Hakurakuten yama

白楽天山

白楽天山の授与品2017白楽天山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ashikari yama

芦刈山

芦刈山の授与品2017芦刈山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Urade yama

占出山

占出山の授与品2017占出山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ayakasa hoko

綾傘鉾

綾傘鉾の御朱印

Atomatsuri

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Kannon yama

北観音山

北観音山の授与品2017北観音山

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Minami Kannon yama

南観音山

南観音山の授与品2017南観音山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Hashi benkei yama

橋弁慶山

橋弁慶山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of En no Gyoja yama

役行者山

役行者山の授与品2017役行者山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Koi yama

鯉山祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

祇園祭2016 後祭

鯉山の授与品2017鯉山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kita Hachiman yama

八幡山

八幡山の授与品2017八幡山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Suzuka yama

鈴鹿山

鈴鹿山の授与品2017鈴鹿山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Kuronushi yama

黒主山

黒主山の授与品2017黒主山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Jomyo yama

 

浄妙山

浄妙山の授与品2017浄妙山の御朱印

Souvenirs and Gosyuin stamp of Ohfune boko

大船鉾祇園祭2016 後祭祇園祭2016 後祭

大船鉾の授与品2017大船鉾のご朱印

 

 

トップへ戻る