News On Japan

Kyoto's Gion Festival reaches climax with float procession

KYOTO, Jul 18 (NHK) - Spectators have packed the streets of the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto to see the highlight of the traditional Gion Festival -- a procession of ornately decorated floats.

The parade of 23 floats began on Monday morning. People applauded during the procession when a child in a traditional costume on the lead float used a sword to cut a sacred rope stretched across a main street.

The floats negotiated right-angle turns at intersections. Wet bamboo sticks laid beneath their wheels helped with the turns.

The festival is said to have begun more than 1,000 years ago to pray for an end to a plague. The procession is held on July 17 every year, but it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Police say about 150,000 people came to see the parade despite the scorching heat. Temperatures reached as high as 37.7 degrees Celsius.

Source: ANNnewsCH


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