Gion Matsuri Tour with Ms. Beniko!
YUMEYAKATA conducted the "Gion Matsuri Tour with a former Maiko" this year for the first time in our history.
It's a small walking tour with Ms. Beniko, a former Maiko, where all participants wear YUMEYAKATA's pretty YUKATAs and make their round among 8 GION Festival YAMABOKOs (floats), leaning the histories and attractive old stories of the festival from Ms. Beniko's easy-to-follow narrations provided along with interpretation services in various kinds of language.
Here are the highlights of tour on July 14th and 15th.
Ms. Beniko is a perfect instructor having a deep understanding on the history and culture of Kyoto. She's been required to give a talk on TV shows too.
These two days are called "Yoi-yoi-yoiyama" and "Yoi-yoiyama" respectively. Yoi means the previous night so that Yoi-yoi-yoi yama means 3 nights ahead of the YAMABOKO JUNKO (Float parade) and Yoi-yoi yama, 2 nights. The festive atmosphere was just hilarious and the tour participants from all over Japan as well as from overseas were having so much fun walking and learning with Ms. Beniko.
YAMABOKOs settled at corners of the area are called literally a "Moving Museum". As you can see, each float's front, back and side to side are adorned with extremely valuable textiles: most of them are imported from Europe or Middle Eastern countries in ancient time and succeeded until today with care.
All participants are truly engrossed in explanations by Ms. Beniko. They are learning the difference between HOKO and YAMA, and benefits unique to each YAMABOKO.
Let's write wishes on the prayer boards!
Collecting stamps from the different floats is fun!
These participants from China got interested in the history of Gion Festival. They wanted a souvenir picture!
Food vendors and game stalls all over!
This tour's highlight! Everyone got aboard the Iwatoyama float. The view looking up is interesting. It was a very special experience.
In the end, we took this corrective picture together with Ms. Beniko. For sure, it is a nice experience to go around the festival in YUMEYAKATA's wonderful YUKATA. Let's do it again next year!