Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri is a festival filled with traditional flair that’s sure to please any visitor to Japan. Starting on July 1 every year, the festival runs for a full month. The rhythmic sound of the Kane bells being played by the Hayashi performers is one of the many memorable scenes that you can experience at Gion Matsuri.

The festival’s highlights include two main events: the “Saki-matsuri” on July 17th and the “Ato-matsuri” on July 24th, both featuring the spectacular Yamaboko-junkō parade. These processions, accompanied by a joyous ambiance, captivate crowds as they wind through the streets of Kyoto.

However, the festivities of Gion Matsuri extend far beyond these main events. Throughout the entire month, visitors can partake in the pre-festivals known as “Yoi-yama,” which further infuse the city with an electrifying festival spirit. Kyoto becomes an enchanting hub of celebration, enticing locals and tourists alike.

Where to Stay for Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri Festival – Book Now!

What is the Gion Matsuri?

The Gion Matsuri, one of the Three Great Festivals of Japan, is one of the festivals held at the famous Yasaka Shrine. During the Heian period, there was a plague sweeping across Japan, which was originally thought to be a curse. The festival was then held to placate the evil spirits responsible for it.

With a proud 1,150-year history, the festival is known far and wide for its long history, extravagance, and for being held for a full month. As a festival that has walked through thick and thin with the city of Kyoto throughout much of its existence, it holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Kyoto.

Getting to Gion Matsuri: Transportation Options

Easily accessible from Hankyu Karasuma Station and Kyoto City Subway Karasuma-Oike Station, reaching Gion Matsuri is convenient and hassle-free.

2023 Gion Matsuri main event schedule

The schedule for the 2023 Gion Matsuri is as follows. Please note that there may be changes, so it’s recommended to check the official website before visiting.

Note that paid viewing seats will be available only for the Pre-Festival (Saki-matsuri) Parade on July 17th and the Post-Festival (Ato-matsuri) Parade on July 24th. Information will be released in late May, and sales are expected to start in early June. For more details, please refer to the official website.

・Event Dates: July 1-31, 2023
・Yamaboko-junkō Parade: Pre-Festival – July 17th / Post-Festival – July 24th
・Venue: Yasaka Shrine

Top 8 things to see at the Gion Matsuri

1. Prayers for a smooth festival

The “Kippu-iri” on July 1 marks the start of the Gion Matsuri. Various stakeholders in the Yamaboko district gather and pray for the smooth runn…

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