Purification of water for rituals (神用水清祓式), 10th July
Canceled in 2022
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.
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
Canceled in 2022
About 350 persons march around the area of ancient Kyoto city and prepare for the portable shrines.
In ancient times, emprors and aristcrats enjoyed to see Gion Goryo-e with Umaosa.
Umaosa is a child on horse back. Before Yamaboko was invented, it is the most popular thing in Gion matsuri.
Sagimai dance performance 鷺舞（さぎまい）/鷺踊
As described before, an artist give birth to Sagimai as a developed form of Sagi Odori.
Purification of portable shrine (神輿洗式), 10th July
In 2022, Mikoshi Araishiki was held at Yasaka shrine.
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.
First of all, huge torches depart from Yasaka shrine. They make their way to Shijo bridge purifying the road where the portable shrine goes.
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.
You may see the charcoal dropping from torches on the road. It saves you from bad luck.
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.
After the purification, Nakagoza goes back to Yasaka shrine.
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) 11th July
Building of Yama floats starts.
- 11~13th: Iwato Yama
- 12th: Hosyo Yama
- 13th: Urade Yama, Yamabushi Yama, Araretenjin Yama, Kakkyo Yama, Ashikari Yama, Aburetenjin Yama, Tokusa Yama, Taishi Yama, Hakurakuten Yama, Ayagasa Hoko, and Toro Yama.
- 14th: Moso Yama and Shijo Kasahoko
Hikizome, (曳初め) 12th July
We can Join Kanko Hoko, Kikusui Hoko, Hoka Hoko, and Iwato Yama only in 2022.
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
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
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).
Kikusuiboko Chakai 菊水鉾茶会 13th~16th(Usual year)
From 13th-16th(usual year), tea parties are held at Kikusuiboko Kaisyo. We can have a plate on which Wagashi is.
In 2022, ticket with Chimaki is available for 3000 JPY at Kikusui Hoko Kaisyo.