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    Posted July 30, 2014 by

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    Hanagasa Junkō Parade, Gion Matsuri, 2014 in Kyoto.


    The Hanagasa Junkō (花笠巡行) Parade took place today on the 24th of July, 2014. It was the first time for this “Flower Umbrella” parade to take part in the Gion Matsuri. There was a lot of anticipation to see this parade. They started of from Yasaka shrine and made their way through the streets of Kyoto. Their final destination was Yasaka shrine, where some performances where held.

    First in the parade where young taiko drummers followed by several youngsters carrying small mikoshi shrines. Then came the “Shinsen Gyōretsu (神饌行列)-Flower Hat Ladies”, who graciously passed us by. The Gion Taiko drum float (祇園太鼓) followed together with many smaller flowery shaped parasols. Kin gin shishi (金 銀獅子) roamed through the streets scaring the evil spirits. The young Uma-chō (馬長), young ladies on horse back, stood out because of their beautiful dress. More Gion bayashi music was performed by the Naginata Boko Bayashi Musicians. They were followed by the Hanagasa musume (花傘娘) or flower daughters.

    Next came the real treat, four gorgeous ladies on a palanquin, called O-shō hoko (織商鉾), caught everyone’s attention. They were chosen as the most beautiful at the “Miss Kimono” contest in Kyoto. The floats carrying maiko from Miyakawachō (宮川町) and Gion Kōbu (祇園甲部) came next.

    The famous “heron dancers” (Sagi Odori-鷺踊) came next in their bird like costumes. The hat they wore resembled a heron’s neck and beak, they had feathers too. On several occasions they stopped and performed their dance.

    The Buddhist Lantern Festival Dancers (万灯踊) where followed by a float carrying the Kikusui Hoko Gion Bayashi Musicians. That was the end of the parade, quiet an experience despite the summer heat and humidity, well worth seeing.

    If you where not able to attend enjoy the small video clip, and perhaps, there is always next year!

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