Nagano Gion Festival

Nagano Gion Festival

The Gion festival is a celebration where people dedicate their prayers to calming down the god of storms. It has a long history, originating from the Yasaka-shrine in Kyoto around the 10th century. The Gion festival rituals are widely spread in Japan, and Nagano Gion Festival (ながの祇園祭) is one of the biggest.

The festival takes place on the second Sunday of July every year at Zenkoji-temple, lasting for the entire day from 8 am to 17 pm. The festival generally consists of various traditional events and performances, as well as many food stands and galleries. The main part of the festival is “Yatai-Jyungo,” meaning “a big tour to the temple.” The Yatai-Jyungo is a carnival in Japanese traditional style with long lines of stall cars prepared and decorated by local communities, with geisha performance on the stall car dancing in tune with Japanese instruments.

Each vehicle is pulled along the road by human force to the Zenko-ji Temple where the people dedicate their wish to the gods for peace and good health.