Rehearsal in a narrow street.
The parade of 32 floats are held on July 17th on the main roads.
A yellow net covering a transformer is to protect a float.
Gion Festival is the 1200 year old pride of Kyoto People. Every year on July 17th , 32 floats are paraded through Gion Area in Kyoto. 32 floats are decorated with gorgeously embroidered tapestries or carpets, exquisite paintings and more. Some of them are from foreign countries, such as China, Korea, India, Persia and Belgium. No wonder, they are nicknamed "Moving Art Museum". This paraded is only part of Gion Festival. The festival continues one month long from July 1st through 31st.
At night floats displayed on a main street are illuminated by paper lanterns.
The origin of the festival dating back to the 9th century when a bad plague prevailed Kyoto and tormented people. This time of year in those days, the outbreak of the plague occurred often. Because heavy rain caused floods and the severe summer heat rotted water. The rotten water caused the plague and tormented people. At that time, they believed that natural disasters and diseases were caused by evil spirit. To appease or drive away evil spirit, 66 pikes were hoisted in the holy garden of Imperial Palace to pray to the deity for help. Some of the floats have well kept the legacy of these 66 pikes. But, why 66?? Because in those days, there were 66 provinces in Japan. Still now Japan is the country which has suffered from terrible natural disasters. The great earthquake which hit Tohoku area on March 11th is too vivid in our memory. Now, we do badly need Gion Festival.