- Gion festival is one of the three major festivals in Japan. It was originated in the 10th century, and developed to the today's magnificent style taking for 1,000 years.
- Scheduled Date
- It's going to be held on July 1 to 31 every year in Kyoto.
- Main events
Main events of the festival are the night festival called " Yoiyama " held on July 16 and the grand parade of big vehicles called "Hoko" held on July 17.
The origin of Hoko was a pike to defeat illness, but it was grown to a big vehicle having a tall tower and the pike is mounted at the top of the tower. The weight of Hoko is about 12 tons or 260,000 lbs and its height is about 25 meters or 85 feet. There are 7 Hokos and the premier Hoko is Naginata-Hoko which proceeds at the top of the parade every year. And holy boy called "Chigo" can ride on Naginata-Hoko only.
Besides 7 Hokos, there are 23 miniature Hokos called "Yama", most of which have no tower nor wheels but they are decorated by many old and big cultural fablics.
The Hoko has no steering mechanism and turning it at a corner is a difficult problem. Many wet bamboo trees are used to slip the front wheels, and many men push and pull the Hoko to the right angle direction. It's one of the highlights of the parade.
- Parade route
The parade goes around the main streets of Kyoto taking about 5 hours. The special music is played on each Hokos using Japanese original instruments during the parade.
Steering Hoko by pushing and pulling on the wet bamboo.