Last week I got a chance to visit Kyoto’s biggest and oldest festival, Gion Matsuri! It is a month long event but the most popular evenings are the nights of the 15th, 16th and the day of the 17th for the parade.
This is the only event where I felt like as a foreigner I was encouraged to wear the Yukata, the light-knit cotton/linen robe that is more casual than the Kimono. It was really fun to wear out on the town. I felt like I was wearing my bathrobe outside. My friend Chika told me that a long time ago the Yukata was only for use in the home for bathing so I was right to feel this way!
Getting dolled up
Luckily we had Yuko-san to help us get our Yukatas on properly and to tie the Obi into a perfect bow!
Alex wearing my ‘drinking jacket’
Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi
Alex, Haruna & I
Daniel and Haruna
Waiting for the Randen
Faces on the subway
It was really busy once we got downtown! There were people everywhere. Apparently tens-of-thousands of people go each night. All the main streets were closed down and there were a lot of food stalls, souvenir shops and the parade floats were all lit up with music playing.
Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma
Marcus enjoying some snacks
Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it’s an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker
As usual, the food was one of the main events for us- we had to try everything!
A lot of people were enjoying their beer in the street, there were even little cocktail shops set up on the side of the street like this.
We were lucky enough to get up close and personal to a few of the parade floats.
Giant float including full size tree
Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren’t allowed on this one
We got to take a tour of this one while they were playing drums and singing inside of it but of course- no photos!
And then more food…we were on a mission for frozen bananas! It was a very hot and humid night.
Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom’s favorite!)
We found the mysterious frozen banana!
Beth loves waffles…on a stick!
All in all it was an amazing night! I wish I could have gone again but unfortunately it was right in the middle of all my final exams for school.
Gion Matsuri can’t be missed!