posted on Sunday, July 01, 2007

Gion Matsuri Preparations

Spent a day in one of my favourite cities in the world, Kyoto. As it is often the case my best companion for the day was a bicycle! Kyoto by bike is a real treat, winding through a maze of little alleys hopping in and out the thousands temples and gardens that make this city so unique! To boost the adrenaline there is always the speedy race down the Kamogawa river. There is no start and no end but our competitive nature takes hold as you find yourself racing with an endless stream of bikers twisting your way around the enemy coming the opposite way!
1st of July also means beginning of Gion Matsuri festival maybe Japan's most famous festival culminating in the floats parade on the 17th. So as I strolled around Yasaka Jinja a crowd of photographers and spectators were admiring the first ceremony. A boy called 'Ochigo san' is chosen each year to be the person that sits on top of the main procession's float. To begin his role he was guided through a purification ceremony, walking three times around the main shrine and offering his prayers.