Kyoto’s Popular Gion Festival to Go Ahead in July Without Covid Restrictions


KYOTO — The popular Gion Festival in this Japanese ancient capital will be held in July without any COVID-19 restrictions, organizers have announced.

The Gion Festival yamahoko float federation, based in Kyoto’s Shimogyo Ward, revealed on April 13 that it intends to hold the “yamahoko” float parade and the “yoiyama” (eve celebration) event, which attract many spectators during the monthlong festival, in their normal form. Last summer, the parade was held for the first time in three years, but the federation had asked all yamahoko preservation associations to restrict participation at the start of the parade and limit entry to their facilities.

The Gion Festival includes a “saki-matsuri” (early festival) and “ato-matsuri” (latter festival). In the summer of 2022, 23 floats participated in the saki-matsuri, and 11 including the “takayama” float joined the ato-matsuri, but some float preservation groups limited the people who could board the floats to invitees and closed the doors to their decorated facilities to the public in the evening.

Float federation chairperson Ikujiro Kimura commented, “Coronavirus infections are settling down, and we want to make the festival a joyous occasion for many people. We have received support from all the districts that have yamahoko.”

Last summer, the federation called on tourists to watch the floats during the daytime to avoid crowds and close contact with others, but Kimura said the federation will not make such requests this time. However, since a large number of people and crowds are expected, he said, “We will take measures to ensure safety and security and to prevent accidents.”

Source: Mainichi Japan