The Yoshiwara Gion Festival


Hello everyone,

The daily showers of rainy season are here. I haven’t been caught outside in the rain yet, but it’s hard to predict at this time of year. Last weekend the Yoshiwara Gion festival took place, and luckily it was nice and sunny on Saturday when I went. As you walk towards the festival, you can hear it before you see it. The distant noise of taiko drums, bells, and traditional flutes gets louder as you approach. Once you get to the main street, you can see the “dashi”, huge floats being pulled along the street. There are 21 neighborhoods in Yoshiwara, each with their own dashi. It is pulled along the street with ropes by the members of that neighborhood, who are dressed in their local colours. Inside the dashi are children playing taiko, bells and flutes. Everyone pulling it is so enthusiastic and making lots of noise. It is worth watching the competition among the dashi floats each of which have their unique features. There are also “mikoshi” (portable shrines covered in bamboo)  which are carried along the streets. Every now and then the group stops walking and shakes the mikoshi up and down to simulate the waves of the sea, because this is a coastal city. There are over 200 vendor stalls set up on Yoshiwara main street during the festival. They sell the usual Japanese festival goods such as fried meat, chocolate bananas, potato swirls, “kaki-gori”(shaved ice), cotton candy, and so on. There are also many carnival games to try win something. It’s difficult to win a good prize at these games, so expect to come away with only an umai ball or keyring. My daughter gets a chocolate banana and kaki-gori at every festival. The ice is a great way to cool off, as it was so hot out there last Saturday. We had a great time and I enjoyed the traditional feel of the festival. Looking forward to the Fuji festival next month.












富士市国久保3-1-10 2F
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