July 17th is always the hottest day in Kyoto. The thirty two floats are paraded through the city. The excitement of the people seems to accelerate the increase in temperature. This parade is part of one-month-long Gion Festival, one of the three greatest festivals in Japan.
Before 9 o'clock, the floats are waiting for the start. The biggest floats are 25 meters in height and 12 tons in weight. Mid-summer heat and the festive spree are soaring up.
This young boy is the icon of the festival of this year. He plays an important role as the divine starter of the festival. For 10 days before the parade, he has not be allowed to stand directly on the ground.
The floats are decorated with gorgeously embroidered or woven tapestries and carpets, and beautifully painted cloths. No wonder, they are nicknamed "Moving Art Museum".
This is a 10cm deep embroidery.
Every float has a high pole attached on the top
where the deity is believed to descend.
Many children are joining the festival. How wonderful it is that through participation, they learn the tradition handed down from generation to generation, and nurture the love toward their local communities.
The Musicians play rhythmical music in drums, Japanese flutes and small gongs. Each float has each special music. A long strand with a tassel at the end is attached to a small drumstick to hit the gong. So, every time the musician hits the gong, the strand dances together. I love these lovely dances very much.
The high mid-summer sky is over a float in the shape of a ship. This float is my favorite.
They use such simple pieces of wood to correct direction of the float or stop it. No float has a brake or a helm.
Hot, hot, hot. In the scorching summer heat, I feel as if I were melting.
For three days before July 17th, some houses exhibit the folding screens which they have preserved as family treasures. Also we can see the wisdom to withstand notorious Japanese summer in the traditional Japanese houses. They have exchanged some windows with bamboo blinds and put down summer carpets.
This time also, I used another camera.
About the origin of the festival, please read my former blog, "1200 Year Old Pride of Kyoto People, Gion Festival"
Visit My World to learn more about our world!!