Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Well today was the big day for the Gion Matsuri Festival in Kyoto. I took a day of vacation time and we headed off to the big parade. We woke up bright and early. I am tempted to say that we "woke up at the break of dawn", but seeing as how dawn breaks at about 4:30 or so, that would be a big, fat lie. But we were up nice and early, around 7:00ish. Not super early, but a respectable time when you have a three year old who likes to sleep late. We were out the door and on our way to Kyoto a little after eight. We were in Kyoto around nine and ready to see the parade.
We had gone to the festival last night, and had a great time. The atmosphere at a festival here is awesome. Lots of people walking around, talking, laughing, drinking, and drinking. Beer seemed to be everywhere last night. Even McDonalds was selling glasses of draft beer. We enjoyed our time. Eating, talking, laughing and drinking, mostly eating. We had fried chicken on a stick, beef on a stick, beer on a sti.. (no, no, sorry that was in a cup.) Yakisoba and strawberry shaved ice. Jenny bought a few souvenirs to remember our time, and Logan chose an Ampanman mask. The evening festival was a lot of fun.
That was all gone by the time we got to Kyoto this morning. The food vendors and the trinket shops were all packed up and put away. Today was the day of the parade. About thirty giant parade floats weighing about 12 tons each were wheeled around the Gion district of Kyoto. It was fantastic to watch. Amazing to see these colossal carts being dragged by gangs of men in traditional clothing. The size of the carts was fantastic. But the height was even more amazing. Some of them were around the area of thirty to forty feet in height. I had a tough time choosing a picture to post because I wanted to be able to show how tall they were, but I don't know how to rotate photos on this site so please check the photo site soon, to see more pictures. I hope to have them up some time this week. The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan, and I believe that we are quite lucky to have seen it.