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Gion Matsuri is one of Japan's grandest festivals. Held annually in July, the festival's climax is on the 17th and 24th when giant, wooden-wheeled floats are pulled through the streets.This is at the starting point of the Yamahoko Junko procession on July 17.
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I first went to one of the starting points of the parade.
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Starting at 9 am, the Naginata Hoko float always leads the procession. 長刀鉾
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The Naginata Hoko is the only one with a live sacred child called "Chigo."長刀鉾
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Naginata Hoko 長刀鉾
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Naginata Hoko and chigo child 稚児長刀鉾
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Naginata Hoko and chigo child 稚児
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Kanko Hoko
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Yama float
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Tsuki Hoko (Moon Float) 月鉾
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Tsuki Hoko 月鉾
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Pulling the Tsuki Hoko. Also see the video at YouTube.Notice the crescent moon design on their happi coats.
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Tsuki Hoko月鉾
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He steers the rear wheels with a wedged stick.
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Urade Yama float 占出山
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Tapestry on Urade Yama float depicting's Japan's Scenic Trio 占出山
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Pulling a float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.
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The wheel's diameter is 1.9 meter.
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There are nine of these giant hoko floats.
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The hoko floats are about 20 meters tall.
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Shijo-dori street 四条通り
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Shijo-dori street is the first segment of the procession route. 四条通り
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An ambulance comes through, probably with someone suffering from heat stroke.
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So why does it have a tree growing on the roof?
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The Fune Hoko is a unique, boat-shaped float. 船鉾
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Fune Hoko boat-shaped float. 船鉾
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Huge crowd watch the floats turn at the corner in front of Kyoto City Hall. 京都市役所前
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A sea of people in front of Kyoto City Hall. 京都市役所前
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Turning the hoko float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.
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They are pulling floats weighing 10 tons.
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Also see the video at YouTube.
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Successful corner turn to Oike-dori street
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Another float is preparing to make the turn.
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The front wheels are placed on wet strips of bamboo.
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When the wheels are on the bamboo strips, they pull.
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Fune Hoko boat-shaped float. 船鉾
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Fune Hoko boat-shaped float makes the turn.船鉾
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The yama floats have no problem turning.
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Oike-dori is a wide road and the last stretch of the procession. 御池通り
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御池通り
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This road has paid seating, but most are empty. Probably too hot to sit over the asphalt.
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Disassembly occurs soon after the procession ends.
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Disassembly. The wheel axel is made of steel.
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Disassembly
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Gion Matsuri poster for 2004.
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My video of the Gion Matsuri Saki Matsuri procession on July 17.
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