A must-have resource for anyone wishing to unlock the mysteries of Kyoto's 1150-year-old Gion Festival.
"A month of rituals, five processions, countless deities, shrines and portable shrines, thirty-four floats, antique treasures and fine arts, otherworldly music, an array of spiritual traditions, family heirlooms on display, kimono, people watching, thousands of dedicated volunteers, more than 1150 years of history-the Gion Festival is truly a world-class celebration.
It also takes place in the subtropics in midsummer: it's hot as blazes, very humid, and prone to pouring rain, even typhoons. Add a very foreign language and a million visitors in an area less than a mile square.
Now you have a sense of the scope of your potential explorations."
-Excerpt from the book
This book empowers you to make the most of your visit to this extraordinarily rich and vast World Heritage Event, known in Japanese as "Gion Matsuri". Whether used as a guidebook or as a window into the wisdom and beauty of traditional Japanese culture, The Gion Festival: Exploring Its Mysteries is an enriching read that allows for a deep dive into the multi-faceted aspects of Japan's most famous annual festival.
Author Catherine Pawasarat explores and explains the gigantic festival's many elements in vibrant and engaging detail, including its origins in the ninth century and an overview of its history and cultural context. Throughout the book you'll find fascinating details about the Gion Festival's transformation as it creates new ways to adapt to the modern era. You'll come to share the author's affection for the festival and her appreciation of the cultural event as a priceless part of our human heritage.
In this book, you will discover:
• The history of the Gion Festival
• Its spiritual and cultural origins
• Descriptions and background for each of the 34 Gion Festival floats
• A guide to potential activities
• Practical information and tips to get the most out of your participation in the festival
• Creative ways the festival is meeting the challenges of our rapidly-changing modern world
• Lessons for cultural sustainability and how to preserve our collective human heritage
• A guide to potential activities, supported by detailed maps and schedules
Filled with photographs, schedules, and maps never before available to English readers, The Gion Festival takes an up-close and personal look into the design, symbolism, and treasures of each float; the neighborhoods, traditional and modern families, and architecture that support the festival; and the many religious rituals, processions, and musical performances that accompany it.
What Kyoto experts are saying about the book:
"Pawasarat's writing brings the Gion Festival vividly to life. For those who plan to see the Gion Festival in the future, this book will provide critical background and information that was never available before."
- Alex Kerr, author, Another Kyoto
"The book has two main aspects. On the one hand it is a handy and practical guide book that you can carry around with you as you tour the festival. On the other hand, this book is also an initiation into the deeper significance of the festival. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is a treasure trove of information about the festival and beautifully illustrated with the author's own color photographs."
- Michael Lambe, writer, DeepKyoto.com
"For the first time in English the extraordinarily rich heritage of Kyoto's premier festival is here given the coverage it deserves."
- John Dougill, author, Kyoto, A Cultural History
"With background stories on the historical and religious roots of the festival, and detailed information on each individual yamaboko float, as well as links to interactive maps, Pawasarat's guide to the Gion Festival is a must-have for anyone traveling to Kyoto for the summer festivities."
- Marc Peter Keane, garden designer, author of Japanese Garden Notes