GION Festival - Assembling HOKOs (Floats)

Gion Festival is a huge event in Kyoto, listed as three major festivals of Japan.

GION Festival lasts for one month starting on July 1 until July 31.

YOIYAMA (parade eve) and YAMABOKO JUNKO (parade of huge decorated floats) are very famous among the events during the festival, however, watching the scenery of assembling HOKO (float) is very interesting!

The dates vary according to the districts, but basically, HOKO assemblings are carried out between July 10-14 for the MAE-MATSURI (First half festival) ones, and July 17-21 for the ATO-MATSUI (latter half festival) ones.

The huge sized YAMABOKOs are first assembled in an overturned position, and next it is raised up to the vertical position. It’s a grand spectacular that a YAMABOKO rises to the summer sky in just about five minutes, only by human power pulling the rope attached to the MAKI (main column of HOKO).

The traditional method for assembling HOKOs is called NAWAGARAMI, very unique to Gion Festival. Each knot or mesh pattern of the cables has its own name, and looks very beautiful. All procedures can be viewed from the sidewalk without reservation!

The nearset station: Shijo ot Karasuma Oike Gion Festival web page: