July 16, 2008

Yoiyoiyama - Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri is the biggest festival in Kyoto and probably the most well-known in all of Japan. It features a parade of giant floats on July 17th. The three nights leading up to the parade are called Yoiyoiyoiyama, Yoiyoiyama, and Yoiyama.

During these evenings, many of the street of Kyoto are closed off, the food and drink stalls are set up, the giant Hoko floats are on display, adorned with bright chochin lamps - and featuring traditional Gion bayashi music (very rythmic and chimey sounding), and many open up their homes to display traditional artwork.

I went to Yoiyoiyama (July 15th). And two of my co-worker's who live in Kyoto were good enough to spend the evening, taking in the night carnival atmosphere. We ate giant Nikuman, had some beers, and strolled with the crowds to check out the various floats. Here is one of the floats...

And another:

Here is a really neat display on the ground floor of someone's home:

Some of the crowds wandering from float to float:

. . . And me snacking on Ayu on a stick - looks kind of weird, but tastes really good!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Looks like fun!!! I want a fish on a stick when i come to visit!