Compare & book Japan flights. Goods from Japan delivered to your home or business

Yoiyama Festival

Japan flag. Japanese City Guides:
Yoiyama Festival, Kyoto (July 16th)

Tokyo I Yokohama I Sapporo I Sendai/Miyagi I Niigata I Ibaraki I Saitama I Shizuoka I Osaka I Kobe I Oita I Kyoto I Nagoya I Hiroshima I Nara

Yoiyama: Kyoto's Magical Night 宵山

Gion Matsuri procession of floats - hoko.

Every year on the night of July 16th Kyotoites turn out in their cotton summer kimonos - yukata - to look at the famed Gion floats that will be used in the Festival the following morning.

The night before Gion Matsuri (festival) is in many ways far superior to the tourist crush under sweltering skies that is the actual festival.

On the night before, the famous floats--the "Hoko" that will pass by far in the distance on festival day--are on display in the streets in the neighborhood northwest of Shijo-Karasuma.

Large sections of downtown are closed to automobile traffic for several nights preceding July 17th, and stalls selling chicken, beer, fried octopus, trinkets for children, and more are set up.

Young people come in groups or on a date; families come to show off their children; and older people make an evening of it.



In addition to the floats on display during Yoiyama, the "kon-chiki-kon" of Gion-bayashi music can be heard and children chant short songs to attract customers for the talismans they sell. Traditionally, people who live in this part of downtown open up the front parts of their homes and shops, allowing passersby a look at their valuable heirlooms: byobu - painted screens, kimono, armor, textiles, decorative folding fans, etc.

Yoiyama Festival Access

From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line two stops north to Shijo Karasuma Station (which is also on the Hankyu Line for Osaka).
Maps are available in the station or at any exit. Follow the crowds.
Alternatively, for a more gradual introduction to the vast crowd - Yoiyama Festival is certainly not for the claustrophobic - exit at Oike Subway Station, one stop north of Karasuma Station and follow the crowds south. Kyoto Rail Map

Images of Gion Matsuri
Restaurant decked out for Yoiyama Festival. Girls in summer yukata, Kyoto Gion Matsuri procession, Kyoto. Yoiyama festival, Kyoto.

More images of Japan


Book Hotel Accommodation in Kyoto Here

Hostels in Kyoto - Hostelworld.com
Hotels in Japan - Bookings
Hotels in Kyoto - Bookings


Books on Japan