Gion Matsuri

1 - 31 Jul 2017

Experience one of Japan's most famous festivals when you visit Kyoto in July.

  • When? 1sr - 31st July 2017
  • Where? Kyoto
  • Price: Free

Can you imagine a world without pizza? Neither can we; but the Gion Matsuri originated so long ago that our favourite Italian staple hadn't even been invented yet. Starting out almost 1200 years ago, the Gion Matsuri is just as popular for the people of Japan as pizza is to the drunk guy in the pub on a Saturday night. 

Running throughout July, the Gion Matsuri is a huge celebration in Kyoto. The festival dates back to the 9th century and is believed to have begun as a religious purification ritual. Today however, it's celebrated with an array of fun activities, processions, performances and various other forms of entertainment.

The biggest day of the festival is known as Yamaboko Junko. Held on the 17th of July, it features a huge parade of floats that make their way through the streets of Kyoto in the morning. The artistic floats are elaborately decorated and are so big that they have to be pulled along by large groups of up to 50 men. In the lead up to the big event, there are dozens of stalls selling Japan's tastiest traditional food.

July is one of the best times to be in Kyoto and even if you don't make Gion Matsuri's main festival day, there's still plenty going on during the rest of the month. Sadly, we can't guarantee pizza but we hear the Japanese food is pretty good, especially in Kyoto. 

  • Get there: Fly to Osaka International Airport and then drive or take a taxi to Kyoto. 
  • Stay: Find somewhere to stay in the city centre. Celebrations take place all month long.

*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!