Matsu-torishiki of Gion Matsuri (July 19th, 2024)

Matsu-torishiki of Gion Matsuri

The information of Matsu-torishiki is presented here. Matsu-torishiki is held every year on July 19th. In Matsu-torishiki, before Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade), Kitakannon Yama and Minamikannon Yama choose a shinmatsu (pine tree) from two pine trees. By the way, it is customary for the one who chooses first to say “I could have chosen a good pine tree.” and for the one who chooses later to say “I was left with a good pine tree”.

【Matsu-torishiki 2024 Schedule (confirmation required)】

Matsu-torishiki 2024 will be held on Friday, July 19th, 2024 at around 13:00.
●Gion Matsuri Festival 2024 will start on July 1st, 2024 and end on July 31st, 2024.
Gion Matsuri Festival Schedule (July 1st-31st)

【Kitakannon Yama Location Map & Directions】

Address: Rokkaku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Subway Shijo Station (about 8 minutes on foot), Hankyu Karasuma Station (about 7 minutes on foot)

【Matsu-torishiki of Gion Matsuri brief overview】

Matsu-torishiki (松取式) of Gion Matsuri Festival (祇園祭) is held every year on July 19th. It is said that Matsu-torishiki has been held for more than 600 years. However, in the past, Kitakannon Yama and Minamikannon Yama took turns in the annual procession, and after the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kitakannon Yama and Minamikannon Yama began to parade together every year. In Matsu-torishiki, before Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade) on July 24th, Kitakannon Yama and Minamikannon Yama choose a shinmatsu (pine tree or cedar tree) from two pine trees delivered from Narutaki in Ukyo-ku. In Matsu-torishiki, Kitakannon Yama and Minamikannon Yama first play the rock-paper-scissors to determine the order of the lottery. The winner of the rock-paper-scissors draws the lottery first, and the loser gets the remaining lottery. By the way, two lotteries are prepared, one of which has a knot indicating the winner. The winner chooses the first one of the two pine trees, and the loser chooses the remaining pine tree. It is customary for the one who chooses first to say “I could have chosen a good pine tree.” and for the one who chooses later to say “I was left with a good pine tree”. The shinmatsu (pine tree or cedar tree) corresponds to the shingi (pillar) that is placed in the center of Hoko floats such as Naginata Hoko. Only Taishi Yama uses cedar tree instead of pine tree.

★According to an old document owned by the town, Kitakannon Yama was founded in 1353. Kitakannon Yama is derived from the fact that the statues of Yoryu kannon and Idaten are enshrined on Kitakannon Yama. Yoryu kannon is one of the 33 Kannons, and her mission is to save people from sickness and suffering. Yoryu kannon (楊柳観音) is said to be Yoryu kannon because Yoryu kannon holds a willow (柳) branch in her right hand. In some cases, however, the willow branch is held in a water vessel. Idaten, one of the eight generals of Zocho-ten, is considered the guardian deity of the temple complex. In Japan, Idaten is worshipped as the guardian deity of the monks’ quarters in Zen temples, or as the deity who removes disease from children. Around the time of the Onin War (1467-1477), Kitakannon Yama began to take turns to parade with the neighboring town of Minamikannon Yama. In 1788, Kitakannon Yama was destroyed by Tenmei-no-Taika (the great fire of Tenmei) except for the face of Yoryu kannon, but it was restored by Hashisada Shunsaku. It is said that a decorative roof was added in 1833, and Kitakannon Yama was changed from Kakiyama float to Hikiyama float. Since the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kitakannon Yama began to parade together with Minamikannon Yama every year. In addition, Kitakannon Yama was once also known as “Nobori Kannon Yama”.
★The origin of Minamikannon Yama is not clear. In the “Gionshaki (Records of Yasaka Shrine)”, which describes the names of Yamahoko floats and places in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573) before the Onin War (1467-1477), it is written as “Fudaraku Yama (between Nishikikoji-cho and Shijo Bomon)”, and Minamikannon Yama is said to have already been founded before the Onin War. Minamikannon Yama is derived from the fact that Minamikannon Yama enshrines the statue of Yoryu kannon and Zenzai Doji. The statue of Yoryu kannon is said to have been created by Eshin-sozu and Genshin, but it was destroyed by Tenmei-no-taika (the great fire of Tenmei) in 1788, except for the head, and was later restored. Yoryu kannon is one of the 33 Kannons, and its mission is to save people from sickness and suffering. Yoryu kannon (楊柳観音) is said to be Yoryu kannon because Yoryu kannon holds a willow (柳) branch in her right hand. In some cases, however, the willow branch is held in a water vessel.
Zenzai Doji is a bosatsu in the form of a child described in the “Nyuhokaibon” of the Kegon Buddhist sermon. Around the time of the Onin War (1467-1477), Minamikannon Yama began to take turns to parade with the neighboring town of Kitakannon Yama. Since the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kitakannon Yama began to parade together with Minamikannon Yama every year. Minamikannon Yama was changed from Kakiyama float to Hikiyama float. In addition, Minamikannon Yama was once also known as “Kudari Kannon Yama”.

【Matsu-torishiki 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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