Gion Matsuri Guide 2024: The Ultimate Kyoto Celebration

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri also known as Kyoto’s Gion festival, has a lot of importance in Japanese culture. It is a religious festival celebrated to honor the deities of the Yasaka Shrine (also known as Gion Shrine) in Kyoto. 

Japanese people are great celebrators. They have tons of different festivals, and they celebrate them gloriously, and so they do with the Gion festival. This day is greatly celebrated in Japan through different events. So, how do Japanese people celebrate this day, and what history does this day hold? 

Check out this article to find out.

If you are interested in learning about more Japanese Festivals/ East Asian Holidays then click on the given link Japanese Festivals/ East Asian Holidays

What’s Gion Matsuri?

Gion Matsuri Guide 2024: The Ultimate Kyoto Celebration

This is a beautiful festival celebrated in Japan in Kyoto, the ancient capital city of Japan. The purpose of this festival is to honor the deities of the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto. This is a thousands of years old festival which has evolved a lot over time. 

In July, the festival takes place throughout the month, culminating in a spectacular procession called the Yamaboko Junko on July 17th. What’s the history of this festival, and when did it start?

In how many states is the Gion Festival Celebrated?

Gion Matsuri 2024

In Japan, only one state celebrates this Festival, Kyoto. It’s a local festival that doesn’t get celebrated in other states. Also celebrated in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. These celebrations are usually organized by Japanese-Americans or Japanese-Canadians.

History of Kyoto’s Gion Festival

Gion Matsuri Guide 2024: The Ultimate Kyoto Celebration

It has been over 1,000 years since the Gion Festival in Kyoto, Japan. During a plague in 869, it was a religious ceremony to appease the gods. Today, it’s a grand celebration of Kyoto’s culture. 

The highlight is the Yamaboko Junko, where ornate floats are paraded. Originally a purification ritual, the festival showcases traditional arts, music, and vibrant processions. It symbolizes Kyoto’s identity and community spirit, attracting millions of visitors worldwide.

When is the Gion Matsuri Festival celebrated?

So, when will these festivals 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2025 be celebrated? I’ve mentioned the dates of each year in the table.

YearGion MatsuriYamaboko Junko Parades
2023July 1-31July 17 and 24
2024July 1-31July 17 and 24
2025July 1-31July 17 and 24
2026July 1-31July 17 and 24

Gion Matsuri Festival Locations and Schedule

Gion Matsuri Guide 2024: The Ultimate Kyoto Celebration

What’s the way of celebrating Gion Matsuri?

This is one of the longest festivals, celebrated throughout the month with different events. Here’s what people do to celebrate this day.

1. Mikoshi procession

Gion Matsuri

The first thing that Japanese people do and that has made this festival famous across the globe is Mikoshi possession. What the people do is they carry a portable shrine through the streets, and other people follow them. The people who carry the shrine dress in traditional Japanese costumes to make this day even more fun and memorable.

2. Dance performances

Gion Matsuri Guide 2024: The Ultimate Kyoto Celebration

Dance is the most common thing that you’ll find in almost all of the festivals.  This Japanese festival has a lot of different dance performances. Some of the most popular dances include the Yamaboko Okuribi, which is a dance performed with large lanterns, and the Gion Odori, which is a traditional Japanese dance performed by geisha.

3. Food and drink stalls

Kyoto’s Gion Festival

Other than the dance performance and mikoshi possession, the Japanese people also have their favorite drinks and also put stalls of the drink on the streets. On these calls, different types of drinks are sold, including yakitor, takoyaki, and even beer, as many foreigners also come to Kyoto to witness this festival with their own eyes.

4. Fireworks display

Gion Matsuri

On the last day of Gion Matsuri, there is a large fireworks display. Fireworks are one of the festival’s biggest events.

Gion Matsuri is celebrated by doing these things.


Gion Matsuri is a traditional Japanese festival that Japanese people celebrate every single year. This day is made to honor the deities of the Yasaka Shrine (also known as Gion Shrine) in Kyoto. This festival is celebrated only in Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Gion Matsuri festival about?

The Gion Matsuri is a famous annual festival in Kyoto, Japan, primarily dedicated to warding off disasters and promoting good fortune.

What are the main events of Gion Matsuri?

The main events of Gion Matsuri include the Yoiyama, Yamaboko Junko, and Mikoshi Arai.

What month is the Gion Festival?

The Gion Festival takes place in July.

Who is involved in Gion Matsuri?

The Gion Matsuri involves local communities, shrine priests, and participants in colorful processions and rituals.

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