Best time to go to Kyoto

Gion Matsuri (Festival) 2020

This month of rituals and traditions can't be missed during your Kyoto vacation

Gion Matsuri (Festival) in Kyoto 2020 - Best Time
Photo by

© Sami

Gion Matsuri is one of the most outstanding festivals in Japan. It takes place in Kyoto during the entire month of July. The name of the event comes from the Gion neighbourhood—the most famous and exclusive Geisha quarter.

Gion Matsuri (Festival) in Kyoto - Best Season 2020

The most significant highlights of the Gion Matsuri are street parades—Yamaboko Junkō—held on the 17th and 24th of July. During the show, you will see huge floats decorated with ancient patterns. It's a great chance to witness two different types of Japanese floats—yama and hoko. They are truly impressive and breathtaking and can reach up to 25 meters in height and weigh up to 12 metric tonnes!

Best time for Gion Matsuri (Festival) in Kyoto 2020

The parades take place between 9 am and 11:30 am. The float processions follow a three-kilometre-long route that stretches along Shijo, Kawaramachi and Oike​ streets. The itineraries differ depending on the dates—the parade starts from Shijo-Karasuma on July 17th and from Karasuma-Oike on July 24th. You can obtain some paid seatings in front of the city hall, but there are lots of other viewing points along the extended route.

Best time to see Gion Matsuri (Festival) in Kyoto 2020

During the festival, you can also enjoy traditional Japanese performances, taste the best varieties of iconic Japanese dishes such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakitori; observe Japanise yukata (summer kimono), listen to Gion-bayashi music and much more.