Events in Kyoto

July 2016, Kyoto's Summer tradition "Gion Matsuri" is coming! Experience the traditional real pleasure of Kyoto such as "Yoiyama and Yamahoko parade"!

Yamahoko-Junko at Gion Matsuri

Yamahoko-Junko at Gion Matsuri
Summer tradition of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri" is also coming in 2016. One of the three biggest festivals in Japan (Tenjinmatsuri in Osaka・Kandamatsuri in Tokyo・Gionmatsuri in Kyoto), "Gion Matsuri" is well-known all over Japan. The festival starts on 1st of July and until the end of July 31, there are various events carried out for one month.

The most famous events among numerous ones, which attract a lot of tourists are "Sakimatsuri" on July 17 and "Atomatsuri" of July 24.

From July 10th, many "Yamahoko" (festival float) appear in the center of Kyoto city around Shijo and Karasuma. On previous day of Sakimatsuri the area becomes pedestrian precinct bustling with "Yoiyama", floats that accompany musical instruments playing. In addition, "Yamahoko parade", floats parade of "Sakimatsuri" on July 17th and "Atomatsuri" on July 24th is the biggest event and a lot of tourists come to see the festival.

The festival of 2016 has begun already, Yamahokos are ready in Kyoto city, the days of "Sakimatsuri" and "Atomatsuri" are coming soon. The city of Kyoto becomes all in festival atmosphere! I would like to introduce such seasonal attraction "Gion Matsuri" from now on.

Articles of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri"

1, Basic and useful information of Kyoto"Gion Matsuri" 2016
2, Origin of Kyoto"Gion Matsuri"
3, Event schedule of Kyoto"Gion Matsuri" 2016
4, Highlights of Kyoto"Gion Matsuri"
5, Photos and videos of "Gion Matsuri"
6, Comments from EnjoyJapan! Editorial dept.
7, Access information to "Gionmatsuri" venues

1, Basic and useful information of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri" 2016

NaiKeiさん(@nainai_kkk)が投稿した写真 -

出典: instagram/nainai_kkkさん

Basic information

Name: Gion Matsuri
Name in English: Gion Festival
Prefecture: Kyoto
Area: Kyoto city (Gion, Yasaka area/Kawaramachi area/Karasuma area)

・Yasaka jinja/ 625 Gionmachi kitagawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto city, Kyoto


・Yasaka jinja/075-561-6155

●Period of Gionmatsuri:

・From July 1st to July 31, 2016

●Period of Sakimatsuri:

・Yoiyama/From July 14th to 16th, 2016
・Yamahoko parade/July 17th, 2016

●Period of Atomatsuri:

・Yoiyama/From July 21st to 23rd, 2016
・Yamahoko parade/July 24, 2016

Parking: 〇 (Yasaka-Jinja Parking)

※There are many metered parking lots nearby.
※During Sakimatsuri and Atomatsuri period, it would be very crowded, therefore public transportation is recommended.

Official site:

・Yasaka Jinja official site/http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/event/gion.html
・Kyoto sightseeing association official site/https://www.kyokanko.or.jp/gion/index.html

Useful information

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko

Less than10 minutes walking from the nearest station: Yes
Accompanied with: Friends/Date/Family/Alone
Free Wi-Fi: Unknown
Average required time: Approx.1 hour or more
Special bleacher seats available: only for "Sakimatsuri" and "Atomatsuri" (charged)

Other useful information:

・Yamahoko parade is carried out even if it rains.

2, Origin of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri"

Kyoto Yasakajinja

"Gion Matsuri" is one of the biggest festivals in Japan, and its history is very old. It is a traditional festival carried out by"Yasaka Jinja"every year.

Origin of Gion Matsuri was a religious service "Goryoe", which was carried out in order to appease pestilence.According to a legend, in AD 869, when "Heiankyo" capital was located in Kyoto many people lost their lives due to widespread pestilence. At that time "Goryoe" was carried out in order to pray for the God in a garden "Shinsenen" with 66 floats. That tradition is still passed by to contemporary society.

Now Gion Matsuri lasts for a month from July 1st to 31st with various events, which made the festival one of the biggest in Japan.

3, Event schedule of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri" 2016

Gion Matsuri has started from the beginning of July, 2016, and here is the event schedule.

The biggest festival in Kyoto! Main event schedule of "Gion Matsuri" which lasts for one month

出典: instagram/teerapat.teeperさん

July 1 〜5 : Kippuiri (Preparation of service in each district)
July 1 : Naginatahokocho Osendo (Each district director visits to Yasakajinja with the year's child)
July 1 〜9 : Nikai bayashi (2 story music instuments play)
July 2 : Kujitorishiki (Floats parade order decision)/Yamahokochoshasan (visit to Yasakajinja)
July 3 : Shinmen arateme (renewal of the mask)
July 5 : Naginataboko Chigomai hiro (Naginata float child dance performance)
July 7 : Ayagasa chigo shasan (Children in Ayagasa float visit Yasakajinja)
July 10 : Omukae chochin (welcoming paper lantern parade/Mikoshi arai (float purification)
July 12 〜14 : Yamahoko hikihajime (start pulling floats)
July 13 : Naginataboko Chigo shasan (Naginata float chid visit Yasakajinja)
July 13 : Kuzekomagata Chigo shasan (Kuze float childl visit to Yasakajinja)
July 15 : Yoimiyasai (Put off the lights on lanterns and transfer the Spirit to the float)
July 16 : Yoimiyashinhonougyoji (Art performance service)
July 16 : Yoiyama/Sakimatsuri
July 17 : Yamahoko parade/Sakimatsuri
July 17 : Shinkosai (Ceremony in main hall)
July 23 : Sencha kencha sai (Tea service ceremony)
July 23 : Gomataki (burning service)
July 23 : Yoiyama/Atomatsuri
July 24 : Yamahoko parade/Atomatsuri
July 24 : Hanagasa junko (Flower unbrellas parade)
July 24 : Kankosai (float parade with lanterns lit)
July 25 : Kyogen hono (Comical theater play service)
July 28 : Mikoshi arai (Float purification)
July 29 : Shinjisumi hokokusai (report of successful festival)
July 31 : Ekijinja Nagoshisai (Appease Summer pestilence service)

4, Highlights of Kyoto "Gion Matsuri"

Now, let's take a look at must see highlights in Gion Matsuri. It can be a good reference when you visit the festival.

Highlight of Gion Matsuri! Stunning more than 30 "Yamahoko" floats!

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko

Symbol of Gion Matsuri - "Yamahoko" floats which are built during the festival.
There are 30 "Yamahoko" floats and each floats differs from other.

●Kinds of Yamahoko

出典: instagram/miki.akubittyさん

・Naginatahoko (long handles sword float)
・Kikusuiboko (Chrysanthemum water float)
・Tsukiboko (Moon float)
・Niwatoriboko (Chicken float)
・Iwatoyama (Rock door mountain)
・Funeboko (Boat float)
・Yamabushiyama (Buddhist monk mountain)
・Shijokasaboko (Shijo umbrella float)
・Toroyama (candle float)
・Kitakannonyama (North god of mercy mountain)
・Minamikannonyama (South god of mercy mountain)
・Ennogyojayama (practicing ascenticism mountain)
・Koiyama (Carp mountain)
・Hachimanyama (Hachiman god float)
・Kuronushiyama (Black host mountain)
・Ofuneboko (Big boat float)

●Yamahoko map

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko map
Quote: Gionmatsuri Yamahoko association Gionmatsuri/http://www.gionmatsuri.or.jp/yamahoko/map.html

●For photos of each Yamahoko float, click here.


Heating up festival atmosphere! Enjoy Yoiyama (Yoiyoiyama) of Sakimatsuri and Atomatsuri.

Gionmatsuri Yoiyama Yamahoko

The most exciting periods of Gion Matsuri are "Sakimatsuri" and "Atomatsuri".

During this period "Yoiyama" (festival eve) is bustling with almost 30 Yamahoko floats and light lit paper lanterns which are paraded through Shijo street and Karasuma street with a lot of audiences on both sides. In addition, "Gion bayashi", musical instruments such as drums flutes and bells which create unique sounds, accompany the parade and make the festival more excited. People enjoy authentic "Summer Kyoto" atmosphere.

In the "Yoiyama" eve festival of "Sakimatsuri", Shijo street and Karasuma street become pedestrian precinct with stalls. The center of Kyoto city is decorated with festive colors.

One of "Gion Matsuri" main events! Yamahoko Junko course

"Gion Matsuri" started in order to protect people from disease and catastrophe, and Yamahoko Junko is the most important highlights of the festival, because people believe that as the parade goes through the old capital, it collects evils. Along the parade course many people gather and enjoy festive atmosphere.

●Yamahoko Junko (Sakimatsuri) parade course map/July 17th

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko (Sakimatsuri) parade course map
Quote: Kyoto city sightseeing association Gionmatsuri/https://www.kyokanko.or.jp/gion/junkou.html

・Yamahoko Junko (Atomatsuri) parade course
Approx. 9:00 departure Shijo Karasuma→Kawaramachi Shijo→Kawaramachi Oike→Arrives at Shinmachi Oike around 11:30

●Yamahoko Junko (Atomatsuri) parade course map/July 24th

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko (Atomatsuri) parade course map
Quote: Kyoto city sightseeing association Gionmatsuri/https://www.kyokanko.or.jp/gion/junkou.html

・Yamahoko Junko (Atomatsuri) parade course map
Approx. 9:30 departure Karasuma Oike→Kawaramachi Oike→Shijo Kawaramachi→Shijo Karasuma

As we have seen, the city of Kyoto becomes full of Gion Matsuri festive atmosphere in July!
Please check out the recommended highlights of Gion Matsuri 2016, and "Okoshiyasu" (welcome; in Kyoto dialect) to Kyoto.

5,Photos and videos of Gionm Matsuri

Here are photos and videos of Gion Matsuri.
You can experience realistic sensation of Gion Matsuri.

Gion Matsuri in video

Watch Gionmatsuri in video, which is bigger scale than photos.

Gion Matsuri in photos

From July 1st to July 31st for a month, various events of Gion Matsuri take place. Among them, "Sakimatsuri" and "Atomatsuri" are the most exciting highlights. Please take a look at the photos of those such as "Yoiyama" and "Yamahoko Junko".

Authentic Kyoto scenery can be seen.

●Yoiyama scenery

Many tourists not only from Kyoto, Osaka or all over Japan but also from foreign countries come to see Gion Matsuri Yoiyama. The streets become pedestrian precinct on Sakimatsuri day and bustling with the crowd.

Gionmatsuri Yoiyama pedestrian precinct

Gionmatsuri Yoiyama pedestrian precinct

出典: instagram/takanori_sagaraさん

maricoさん(@moroccony)が投稿した写真 -

出典: instagram/morocconyさん

When it comes to Yoiyama, many people gather and get excited with the highest festive atmosphere!

●Yamahoko Junko

The big scale of great Yamahoko parade through Kyoto city is a unique view seen only in Gion Matsuri!

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko
Quote: Kyoto Free Materials Collection/http://photo53.com/

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko
Quote: Kyoto Free Materials Collection/http://photo53.com/

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko
Quote: Kyoto Free Materials Collection/http://photo53.com/

Gionmatsuri Yamahoko Junko
Quote: Kyoto Free Materials Collection/http://photo53.com/

You would be amazed by Yamahoko Junko no matter how many times you have seen it. Movements such as pushing the giant float with human power and turning the direction at crossing are especially remarkable.

6, Comments from EnjoyJapan! Editorial dept.

出典: instagram/shigemi_kさん

Real Summer has come to Kyoto in July. Summer in Kyoto is famous for its incredible hotness, but "Gion Matsuri" is carried out in the middle of Summer as if it casts out the uncomfortable hotness.

No festival seems to be longer than Kyoto Gion Matsuri which lasts for a month with various events in Japan. You will understand why it is selected as one of the Japan's biggest festivals if you visit.

Among many attractions, please do not miss "Yamahoko" which appears in Kyoto city only during Gion Matsuri festival. Approx. 30 giant Yamahoko floats are in breathtaking scale. "Yamahoko Junko" is a parade of those floats throughout Kyoto city, pushed only by human power. is the highlight of the festival when many tourist from all over Japan and world come to see it.

That is also only one chance that "Shijo dori" and "Karasuma dori" streets become pedestrian precinct on the day of Sakimatsuri eve day. A special arrangement of Gion Matsuri.

Why don't you participate in Gionmatsuri 2016 wearing Yukata (casual summer kimono), listening to music played by Gionbayashi, strolling around numerous Yamahokoand to enjoy Summer in Kyoto?

7, Access information to "Gion Matsuri" venues

Access to "Gion Matsuri" Yasakajinja

Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto


(by Train)
5 minutes walking from "Gion Shijo" station of Keihan densha
8 minutes walking from "Kawaramachi" station of Hankyu densha Kyoto line

(by Bus)
From JR "Kyoto" station
Kyoto city bus #206, get off at "Gion" stop

Access to "Gion Matsuri" Yoiyama (Yamahoko) area


(by Trains)
"Shijo" station of Kyoto city subway Karasuma line
"Karasuma" station of Hankyu train Kyoto line

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Date created:2016/03/01

Last update:2016/09/27

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