One of the most famous and most well-attended festivals in all of Japan, Gion Matsuri spans the entire month of July, with closing ceremonies ending the festivities today. This festival originated in the 10th century as part of a purification ritual (goryo-e) to appease the gods thought to cause fire, floods and earthquakes. Modern festivities include music and dancing, open-air food stalls selling everything from BBQ’d meat to Japanese sweets, traditional dress and family heirlooms on display, and large crowds. All this is crowned by a massive and beautiful parade with elaborate floats.
Bernard Lapointe from Montreal, Canada was visiting Kyoto during this festival month, and secured Toyoko as a guide for himself and his travel partner. His comments on the experience are below:
We visited Kyoto during one of the most important religious festivals, the Gion Matsuri. This means that Kyoto was literally mobbed by hundreds of thousands of visitors. Toyoko’s expert guidance allowed us to escape the crowds, navigate the city using taxis and always provided us with the much needed cooler rest stops. We visited all the major sites and were also given the opportunity to discover some fascinating shrines or gardens off the regular tourist circuit. Toyoko is simply the best guide we ever had.
She made our visit to Kyoto one of the most memorable of all our trips so far. We sincerely hope we will have the occasion to go back to Kyoto and discover new sites and Osaka with her.
Do not hesitate to communicate with Toyoko; you will be grateful you did, as we are.
Toyoko has led over 60 tours with ToursByLocals. Thank you, Toyoko, for being such a kind, engaging and helpful host to so many ToursByLocals travelers!