If we carefully see the displays or Japanese sweets in Kyoto, we can find the 2 symbol crests for Gion festival everywhere in July.
They are “hidari mitsu domoe” and “gouri ni karahana”.
It’s like the family crest every Japanese family have that are often used for the back of the formal kimono.
The 2 crests for Gion festival
The 2 crests are the symbol of Yasaka shrine which worships the gods of Gion festival. I don’t know exactly why these 2 shapes are chosen. Some people believe that we Kyoto citizen avoid eating cucumber in July since the “gouri ni karahana” (the black one on the lantern) is similar to the cross section of cucumber, while some people says it’s not true that the crest has the connection with cucumbers.
Anyway, the photo on the top is the display at the hotel Tokyu in Kyoto. It’s the gorgeous Japanese lanterns!
These lanterns are displayed every hotels and ryokan in Kyoto now. It shows how important festival it is for Kyoto citizen.
Yama&hoko building starts from July 10th
Some yama&hoko start being built along the main street in Kyoto from July 10th.
Since Gion festival is parted into 2 terms, 23 yama & hoko will be built at the first.
Surprisingly, all of them are built without using spikes.
I’ve heard the little rain is helpful to build them since it will be easier to tie the rope firmly if it contains water a little.
Seeing carefully on the small lanterns of the hoko, all of them have the crests as well.
I think it’s interesting to see the process of building, too since it’s not so crowded compared to the parade day (17th) or the parade-eve (15th and 16th night).
Tea Ceremony for Gion festival
I will start Gion festival tea ceremony from July 11th in Tea Ceremony Koto. It’s too far to walk from the main area of the festival, but it’s worth trying if you visit Kinkakuji temple during your stay in Kyoto. It’s just 40 minutes by city bus from Shijo Karasuma/ Kawaramachi.