Minamikannon Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

Minamikannon Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

The information of Minamikannon Yama is presented here. Minamikannon Yama is a large-sized Yamahoko float (Hikiyama float), and its symbol is the pine tree that extends vertically to the sky. Hayashi-kata (music group) playing Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music) board Minamikannon Yama during Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade). From the time of the Onin War (1467-1477), Minamikannon Yama was paraded in Yamahoko-Junko on an annual rotation with Kitakannon Yama in the neighboring town, but since the Meiji period (1868-1912), it has been paraded annually together with Kitakannon Yama.

【Minamikannon Yama Location Map & Directions】

Address: Mukadeya-machi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Subway Shijo Station (about 7 minutes on foot), Hankyu Karasuma Station (about 6 minutes on foot)
Location: Minamikannon Yama is located on Shinmachi-dori, about 80 meters south of the intersection of Shinmachi-dori (north-south) and Takoyakushi-dori (east-west).

【Minamikannon Yama History and Brief Overview】

The origin of Minamikannon Yama (南観音山) 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 普陀落山 (between Nishikikoji-cho and Shijo Bomon)”, and Minamikannon Yama is said to have already been founded before the Onin War. From the time of the Onin War (1467-1477) until the Edo period (1603-1868), Minamikannon Yama was paraded in Yamahoko-Junko on an annual rotation with Kitakannon Yama in the neighboring town, but since the Meiji period (1868-1912), Minamikannon Yama has been paraded annually together with Kitakannon Yama. Minamikannon Yama used to be Kakiyama float, but it was changed to Hikiyama float. In addition, Minamikannon Yama was once also called “Kudarikannon Yama (descending Kannon Yama)”, while Kitakannon Yama is said to be “Noborikannon Yama (ascending Kannon Yama)”.

★Minamikannon Yama is derived from the fact that the statue of Yoryu Kannon and Zenzai Doji are enshrined on Minamikannon Yama. 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 during the late Edo period (1603-1868), except for the head, and was later restored. Yoryu Kannon is one of the Sajusan Kannon (33 Kannon), and her mission (honzei) is to provide relief from illness and suffering. Yoryu Kannon is called “Yoryu Kannon (楊柳観音)” because she holds a willow (柳) branch in her right hand. However, there are cases where a willow branch is inserted into a water bottle.
★Kannon Bosatsu is also known as Kanzeon Bosatsu, Kanjizai Bosatsu, Kuse Bosatsu, and Kannon-sama. It is said that Kannon Bosatsu hears people’s cries for help and relieves them of their suffering. It is said that Kannon Bosatsu changes her appearance, depending on the shape of the person she saves. The Kannon Sutra describes the Sajusan Ogeshin (33 Ogeshin) in various forms.
★Zenzai Doji is a bosatsu in the form of a child described in the “Nyuhokaibon” of the Kegon Buddhist sermon. Zenzai Doji visited 53 saints from south to south in search of the Dharma. The beautiful Kannon, who lived by the southern sea, taught him to save people from all kinds of suffering, and from Fugen Bosatsu, he heard the ten great wishes, and wished to be reborn in the Pure Land of Amida.
*reference・・・Minamikannon Yama website

【Features (subject to change)】

★Minamikannon Yama is about 17.24 meters high, 6.55 meters long, 4.45 meters wide, 9.54 tons in total weight, and has a minimum turning radius of 5.90 meters. (2008 Data)
★The shinmatsu (pine tree) is a remnant from the time of Kakiyama float, and the side branch of the pine tree is decorated with a long-tailed bird (onagadori). Every year, two pine trees, one from Minamikannon Yama and the other from Kitakannon Yama, are delivered from Narutaki and selected by rock-paper-scissors and lottery in Matsu-torishiki on July 19th.
★The statue of Yoryu Kannon, which is the Goshintai, was built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), but only the head and thorax survived the Tenmei-no-taika (Great Fire of Tenmei) in 1788 in the late Edo period (1603-1868). The part that was destroyed in the fire was rebuilt in the Edo period along with the statue of Zenzai Doji.
★The “Shishin-zu (four gods)” of the ten-mizuhiki was designed by Shiokawa Bunrin and has recently been replaced by replicas. The “Hiten Sogaku-zu” of the shita-mizuhiki is an original drawing by Kayama Matazo. The miokuri (back) was the tsudurenishiki with blue sea waves in the clouds pattern from the Min dynasty of China, but in 1988 it was replaced with the “Ryuo tokai-zu” by Kayama Matazo. The ato-kake (back) was used the Indian carpet used since the Edo period (1868-1912), and in 2010 it was replaced by the carpet made by the Milie workshop in Iran. The old Uchijiki has the year 1684, the middle of the Edo period, and is said to be the oldest Indian Sarasa in Japan that has a year name.
★Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music) of Minamikannon Yama includes “Watari Jibayashi”, “Watari Ichiban”, “Watari Niban”, “Watari Sanban”, “Kagura”, “Fuji”, “Ichiban”, “Niban”, “Sanban”, “Yonban”, “Goban”, “Rokuban”, “Nanaban”, “Hachiban”, “Kyuban”, “Juban”, “Asahi”, “Cho”, “Ocho”, “Shiki Odori”, “Botan”, “Ofuku”, “Oranda”, “Nagatsuki”, “Okina”, “Nami”, “Chidori”, “Mikage”, “Hana”, “Yanagi”, “Ryu”, “Yoko”, “Honen”, “Hyaku”, “Hiyori Kagura”, and others.
★Chimaki, hand towels, sensu (fans), etc., are available for purchase. The purchase of chimaki and other items may allow you to board Minamikannon Yama. (Confirmation required)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★In Matsu-torishiki on July 19th, Minamikannon Yama and Kitakannon Yama select two pine trees cut down in Narutaki by the rock-paper-scissors and the lottery.
★In Latter Festival Yamahoko-hikizome on July 20th, newly assembled Minamikannon Yama is pulled a short distance, just as in the actual Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko on July 24th.
★In Latter Festival Yoiyama from July 21st to July 23rd, Komagata-chochin lanterns of Minamikannon Yama are lit and Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music) is played in the evening.
★In Hiyori-Kagura on July 23rd, Hayashi-kata (music group) of Minamikannon Yama go to Yasaka Shrine Otabisho while playing Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music), and dedicate Gion-bayashi to pray for good weather on the next day, and for the safety of Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade).
★In Abare-kannon on July 23rd, the statue of Yoryu Kannon is covered with cloth and attached to a lotus stand (okoshi) with cloth and paraded around the town three times while being shaken vigorously. Abare-kannon is held immediately after the end of Hiyori-Kagura.
★In Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade) on July 24th, Yamahoko floats, including Minamikannon Yama depart from Karasuma-Oike and parade along Oike-dori, Kawaramachi-dori, and Shijo-dori. Minamikannon Yama is kuji-torazu (without drawing lots) and the 2nd or 6th every other year in the procession of Latter Festival Yamahoko-Junko, and tsuji-mawashi (turning of streets) is performed at the intersection.

【Minamikannon Yama of Gion Matsuri remarks】
*Events may be rescheduled or cancelled. Also, the content of the event may have changed.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山