Green tour Kyoto | travel information in JAPAN » Blog Archive » The floats viewing (Gion Matsuri Festival)

This month's plans

"This month's plans" offers you some ideas to visit and feel at peace during your stay as well as enjoy seasonal events in Kyoto. They are mostly in outdoor, including some mountains, so that you can enjoy a green and healthy stay and save money as well!

The floats viewing (GION MATSURI)

The floats viewing (Gion Matsuri Festival)

I could say that June in Kyoto is all about GION MATSURI!
From the first day of June, the town is displayed with decorations and sound of Gion Matsuri.
People are getting excited to see the festive atmosphere and feel summer is here, it’s very severe though.

GTK recommends to see the construction of the gorgeous floats, symbol of the festival more than the highlight on 17th and 24th. People have a privilege to climb the float until the eve of the float procession after completing the construction.

First, however, let us explain about GION MATSURI and its event schedule.

Gion-Matsuri is a festival of Yasaka Shrine located in eastern Gion, which started in the 9th century. It was originally held to drive away the evil spirits.
33 “hoko” big floats, which used to be the symbols of each prefecture in old Japan, are completely constructed in the middle of July. Their decorations are amazing!
You can enjoy the hoko riding, the unique music called Gion-bayashi with the Japanese drums, flutes and bells. The hoko procession on July 17th and 24th, called “a moving museum” is the climax of the festival.
Don’t miss this chance to see the living culture of Kyoto moving and other traditional events during the festival!

10th (Mon)
Welcoming lanterns at Yasaka Shrine, 16:30~

10th (Mon)
Mikoshi purification at Shijo-ohashi brigde, 20:00~

10th (Mon) ~ 14th (Fri)
Hoko construction at the Hoko towns

14th (Fri) ~ 16th (Sun)
Eve of the grand Procession at the Hoko towns

15th (Sat)
Traditional Japanese Perfornance at Yasaka Shrine, 15:00-18:00

16th (Sun)
Tea ceremony Festival at Yasaka Shrine, 9:00~

17th (Mon, N.H)
Grand Procession (Sakimatsuri), starts at Shijo Street, 9:00~
23 hoko floats meet at Shijo-karasuma and start a procession, led by Naginata-boko, to the east on Shijo Street.
The cutting of the sacred rope by a specially chosen child and the large-scale turning of the floats called tsujimawashi are the highlights of the procession.

24th (Mon)
1. Grand Procession (Atomatsuri), 10 floats start at Krasuma-Oike, 9:30~
2. Flower umbrella Procession at Yasaka Shrine, 10:00~

25th (Tue)
Kyogen performance at Yasaka Shrine, 11:00~

28th (Fri)
Mikoshi purification at the corner of Shijo Street and Kawabata Street, 20:00~

31st (Mon)
Summer purification Ceremony at Yasaka Shrine, 10:00~

As for the floats viewing, they are located on each float town called Hoko-cho on the west part of downtown.
You can see their location on this website:

When you see the float procession on 17th or 24th, GTK recommends to get a place on Oike Street. Comparatively onlookers are fewer than Shijo Street.

Here are the photos of the procession on 24th of the previous year taken from Oike Street.

  • July 1st ~ 31st

View Larger Map

Similar Posts:

Events Schedule

Flea Markets

  • Every 4th Sunday
  • Kamigamo Shrine
  • Handicraft market in peaceful and quiet grounds of the shrine.
  • Every 15th
  • Chion-ji Temple
  • 8:00-16:00
  • Kyoto's biggest monthly market of handmade goods and crafts.
  • Every 21st
  • To-ji Temple
  • 7:00-16:30
  • Known as Kobo-san, Kyoto's largest market for all kinds of antiques, tools and so on.
  • Every 25th
  • Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
  • 7:00-16:30
  • Known as Tenjin-san, a popular flea market at one of Kyoto's major shrines. Antiques, food, tools and so on.

Do you know Kyoto?