Kanko-sai of Gion Matsuri (July 24th, 2024)

Kanko-sai of Gion Matsuri

The information of Kanko-sai is presented here. Kanko-sai is held every year on July 24th. Kanko-sai is the highlight of Gion Matsuri Festival ritual. In Kanko-sai, Nakagoza Mikoshi, Higashigoza Mikoshi and Nishigoza Mikoshi go from Shijo Otabisho to the shrine parishioners’ district and return to Yasaka Shrine via Gokusho (Matabisho). The route of Kanko-sai is different for three mikoshi (portable shrines).

【Kanko-sai 2024 Schedule (confirmation required)】

Kanko-sai 2024 will be held from 17:00 on Wednesday, July 24th, 2024. After that, three mikoshi (portable shrines) will go around the shrine parishioners’ district, and at about 22:30 to 23:30, three mikoshi will arrive at Yasaka Shrine one by one.
●Gion Matsuri Festival 2024 will start on July 1st, 2024 and end on July 31st, 2024.
Gion Matsuri Festival Schedule (July 1st-31st)

【Kanko-sai map & access】

Shijo Otabisho : 624 Teianmaeno-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Shijo Otabisho Access : Shijyo Kawaramachi bus stop, Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station, Keihan Gion Shijo Station, Sabway Shijo Station
Yasaka Shrine : 625 Gion-machi kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Yasaka Shrine Access : Gion bus stop, Keihan Gion Shijo Station, Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station
Gokusho (Matabisho) : Goku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Gokusho (Matabisho) Access : Horikawa Sanjo bus stop, Subway Nijojo-mae Station

【Kanko-sai of Gion Matsuri brief overview】

Kanko-sai (還幸祭, Okaeri. おかえり) is the highlight of Gion Matsuri Festival (祇園祭) ritual. Kanko-sai used to be held on June 14th of the lunar calendar, and with the transition to the new calendar after the Meiji Restoration, Kanko-sai was held on the day corresponding to June 14th of the lunar calendar. However, since the date was not fixed, Kanko-sai has been permanently held on July 24th since 1877. Kanko-sai is the second half of the mikoshi procession, in which three Mikoshi (portable shrines) return from Shijo Otabisho to Yasaka Shrine.
On July 24th, the streets and towns are purified by Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko in the morning. In the evening, Nakagoza Mikoshi, Higashigoza Mikoshi and Nishigoza Mikoshi go from Shijo Otabisho to the shrine parishioners’ district and return to Yasaka Shrine via Gokusho (Matabisho) in the Kyoto Sanjokai shopping street (Horikawa Sanjo-Senbon Sanjo). At Kanko-sai, Kuzekomagata-Chigo, the incarnation of the god with a komagata (horse head) on his chest representing the wild and brave spirit of Susano-no-mikoto, the deity of Ayato Kuninaka Shrine, leads Nakagoza Mikoshi. The route of Kanko-sai is different for three mikoshi (portable shrines), and the time of arrival at Yasaka Shrine is also different. Nakagoza Mikoshi stops at Shinsen-en Temple, where a monk reads the Saimon (ritual text) and performs Shasui-Kaji, an important practice of the Shingon sect. Nishigoza Mikoshi passes through Nishiki Market (Nishiki Ichi Market), also known as “Kyo-no-Daidokoro”. Nishiki Market (Nishiki Ichi Market) is about 400 meters long, and the width of the street is only about 3.3 meters in narrow areas. Incidentally, Shinto rituals such as hosen-sai are also held at Gokusho (Matabisho). Upon arrival at Yasaka Shrine, mitama-utsushi is held, in which the divine spirits carried in three mikoshi (portable shrines) are returned to Honden of Yasaka Shrine.

★Nakagoza Mikoshi carries the divine spirit of Susano-no-mikoto, the main deity of Yasaka Shrine. Susano-no-mikoto is the son of Izanagi-no-mikoto (father) and Izanami-no-mikoto (mother), and the younger brother of Amaterasu-omikami, who is considered the ancestor of the Imperial Family. Nakagoza Mikoshi has a hexagonal roof decorated with a phoenix (houo) and a purple kesagake representing the male deity. Nakagoza Mikoshi is said to weigh about 2 tons. Nakagoza Mikoshi is served by the Sanwaka Shinyo-kai and is also known as Sanwaka Mikoshi. The Sanwaka Shinyo-kai is said to have originated from the Sanjodai Wakachu, which served from around 1690.
★Higashigoza Mikoshi carries the divine spirit of Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, the wife of Susano-no-mikoto. Higashigoza Mikoshi has a rectangular roof decorated with a gibosu and a red kesagake. Higashigoza Mikoshi is said to weigh about 2 tons. Higashigoza Mikoshi is served by the Shiwaka Shinyo-kai and is also known as Shiwaka Mikoshi. It is said that the Shiwaka Shinyo-kai changed to the Sanwaka Shinyo-kai and originated when the Takasegawa boatmen near Kiyamachi Shijo served Higashigoza Mikoshi at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868).
★Nishigoza Mikoshi carries the divine spirits of Yahashira-no-mikogami, the eight children of Susano-no-mikoto. Yahashira-no-mikogami are Otoshi-no-kami, Yashimajinumi-no-kami, Itakeru-no-kami, Oyahime-no-kami, Tsumatsuhime-no-kami, Ukanomitama-no-kami, Oyabiko-no-kami, Suseribime-no-mikoto. Nishigoza Mikoshi has an octagonal roof decorated with a phoenix (houo) and a red kesagake. Nishigoza Mikoshi is said to weigh about 3.2 tons. Nishigoza Mikoshi is served by the Nishiki Mikoshi-kai and is also known as Nishiki Mikoshi. The Nishiki Mikoshi-kai has been serving Nishigoza Mikoshi since 1947.
★Mikoshi (portable shrine) is carried by Yocho (Kakite) with the call of “hoito, hoito (hoit-o, hoit-o)”. Yocho (Kakite) carries mikoshi (portable shrine) with a step that makes his heels stick to his buttocks, and makes a “shanshan” sound by violently shaking the narikan attached to both ends of the nagae (carrying poles). It seems that the most common call throughout the country is “wasshoi, wasshoi,” but in Kyoto City, the most common call is “hoito, hoito (hoit-o, hoit-o)”. By the way, in the mikoshi procession, there are also chants such as “yoosa, yoosaa”, “yoiya-sassa”, and “yo-ito-seno”. During the mikoshi procession, “sashi-age” and “sashi-mawashi” are also performed. In “sashi-age”, while shouting “sase, sase”, Yocho (Kakite) extends his hand vertically and raises mikoshi aloft, shaking the narikan violently to make it sound “shanshan”. In addition, in “sashi-mawashi”, Yocho (Kakite) extends his hand vertically and raises mikoshi aloft, and turns mikoshi clockwise while shouting “mawase, mawase.” In the mikoshi procession, when mikoshi departs from or arrives at the shrine, “hiden-mairi” is sometimes performed, in which mikoshi go around Haiden three times while shaking the narikan violently and ringing “shanshan”.
★Gokusho (Matabisho) was enshrined at the southern end of Shinsen-en Temple, where Gion Goryo-e was held in 869, which is the origin of Gion Matsuri Festival. At Shinsen-en, Goryo-e was held in 863. At Gokusho (Matabisho), a saijo (sanctuary) was set up during Goryo-e, where mikoshi (portable shrines) from Yasaka Shrine were enshrined and food, drink, and other offerings were made to the deities. This was the origin of the name “Gokusha”. Later, in 1906, Gokusho (Matabisho) became a branch shrine outside the premises of Yasaka Shrine.

【Kanko-sai of Gion Matsuri remarks】
*Events may be rescheduled or cancelled. Also, the content of the event may have changed.
祇園祭2024日程一覧(宵山屋台・山鉾巡行・・・)

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