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How to build Yamahoko float? Gion matsuri festival 2018

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Hoko tate 鉾建て(Yamahoko buidling)

鶏鉾岩戸山橋弁慶山大船鉾

  In Yamahoko/ Yamaboko parade in Gion matsuri festival, we can see 4 kinds of Yamahoko float; From left to right, Hoko, Hikiyama, Kakiyama, and Yatai.

月鉾

 In this article, we learn the way to build Hoko in chronicle order. Hikiyama is also build in the same way because Hoko resembles Hikiyama in apperance and construction. 

Where are Hokos stored?

鶏鉾倉庫

 Hoko is made of many pieces. They are stored in Kaisho, a kind of headquarters of Hoko, or warehouse in Maruyama park.

Construction of Yagura 櫓の組立

月鉾のやぐら

 At first, Hoko-builders make a foundation of Hoko named Yagura. Every kind of Yamahokos has this structure.

月鉾の縄組山鉾の縄組

 Yagura is a framework of Hoko. Hoko-builders put pillars together with rope and wedge. The way to tighten rope is called Nawa garami. This technique works as a kind of shock-absorber and prevent Hoko from falling down.

Put Shingi on Hoko 真木たて

Lay Yagura down 櫓を倒す

月鉾

 Shingi is a rod on a roof of Hoko. How can we put on it?

鉾組立用の地面の穴

  Take a look at the photo above. There are holes on the road. Usually, they have rids.

  Hoko-builders put short pillars on them and fix them with wedge.

真木建て

 The red allow indicates the pillar. The pillar was tightened to the log the man holds. The log is also tightened to Yagura and works as a pivot.

鉾建て

 Long rods are installed to lay down Yagura. Hoko-builders hook ropes on them and winch up the ropes.

月鉾の真木たて

 Now Yagura lays down.

月鉾の真木月鉾の真木

Then, Hoko-builders put wood rods together with ropes to make Shingi. The Singi in the photo is that of Tsukihoko’s and almost 85 feet long.

月鉾の天王台

 Shingi has a Tenno-dai.  The upper part of Shigi is a bamboo rod and Tennno-dai is installed to the bamboo rod. When Hoko moves, the rod swings away and the movement gives Hoko refined taste.

 On tenno-dai, there is a small figurine called Tenno ningyo. Tenno ningyo is a Goshintai. Goshintai is an object to which Deity descend. 

 Why does Shingi need Deity? The reason is that Shingi plays a role to gather Ekishins. The Deity on Shingi helps to do it. After Yamaboko parade, the Deities of Yasaka shrine come to the center of the Kyoto city on portable shrines, and calm down the Ekishins.

 In the ancient times, people believed that the phantom of politically ousted person became Ekishin and caused malady. On the other hand, they thought if they could calm Ekishin down, they would save them from malady with their huge power.

  That’s the aime of Gion matsuri festival: To gather Ekishins and calm them down.

The construction of Hoko 鉾の構造

山鉾の骨組み

 Now, let us learn about the construction of Hoko. The photo shows the framework of Hoko. The orange line indicates a roof and red line does a supporting rod called Kamuro-bashira.

鶏鉾

 Kamuro-bashira is connected to crossed rod called Hiuchi. Hiuchi is under the floor and fixed not to it but Yagura. When Hoko moves, Hiuchi moves to the opposite direction to Hoko itself and prevent Hoko falling down.

Put Shingi into Yagura 真木を挿す

真木たて

 After Shigi is completed, Hoko-builders put it to the bottom of Yagura.

Ornament Shigi with Sakaki and Shaguma 榊やしゃぐまをつける

月鉾の榊

 Shingi is decorated with Sakaki, a sacred tree.

しゃぐましゃぐま

 Shigi is also ornamented with Shaguma.

Let Deity rule 天王人形をお乗せする

天王人形

 In the end, Hoko builders put Goshintai on Tenno-dai. The photo is a Goshintai of Tsukihoko named Tsukiyomi no mikoto/ Tsukuyomi no mikoto. He is a brother of Susanoo no mikoto, the Deity enshrined in Yasaka shrine.

 Goshintai is so sacred that we cannot look it down. So, it is wrapped in a cloth. The cloth has a string. A man holds it and the cloth is gone when Shingi stands.

Set up Shigi 真木を立てる

月鉾の真木たて

 Winch up the rope again to set up Shingi.

 Check the video!

Install roof and floor to Yagura 舞台と屋根をつける

月鉾の鉾建

 After setting up Shingi, Hoko builders put roof and floor to Yagura and decorate them with beautiful ornaments.

鶏鉾の鉾建鶏鉾の鉾建

Put wheels to Yagura 車輪をつける

山鉾の石持

 Hoko-builders put huge pieces of wood named Ishimochi. They put wheel shaft under them.

菊水鉾の鉾建

 To install wheel, they jack up Hoko.

菊水鉾の鉾建

  Hoko-builders hold the wheel and put it into the shaft with stick ( the red allow indicats).

Ornament Hoko with tapestry , etc. 懸装品をつける

月鉾

 After the installing of wheel, Hoko is ornamented huge tapestry works, and so on.

2018宵山

 In night time, paper lanterns are lit.

2018山鉾巡行月鉾

 Finally, on the day of Yamahoko parade, important object like Goshintai (most of all Hoko has Goshintai other than Tenno ningyo). After the parade, Hoko is taken to pieces.

  We can see fully ornamented Hoko couples of hours a year.

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About Gion matsuri festival 祇園祭について

 Check the article!

https://kyotokankoyagi.com/gion-matsuri-2018-en
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