Moso Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

Moso Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

The information of Moso Yama is presented here. Moso Yama is a small-sized Yamahoko float (Kakiyama float), and its symbol is the pine tree that extends vertically to the sky. Moso Yama is derived from the Chinese historical tales that Moso dug up a takenoko (bamboo shoot) from the snow in the middle of winter that his sick mother wanted to eat, and Moso Yama is also called “Takenoko Yama”.

【Moso Yama Location Map & Directions】

Address: Takanna-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Subway Shijo Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Hankyu Karasuma Station (about 3 minutes on foot)
Location: Moso Yama is located on Karasuma-dori, about 40 meters north of the intersection of Karasuma-dori (north-south) and Shijo-dori (east-west).

【Moso Yama History and Brief Overview】

★The origin of Moso Yama (孟宗山) is not clear. In the “Gionshaki”, 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 “Mauso Yama まうそ山 (between Nishikikoji Karasuma and Shijo)”, and Moso Yama is said to have already been founded before the Onin War.

★Moso Yama is derived from Moso who is written as one of the Chinese historical tales of the “Nijushiko (Twenty-Four Filial Pieties)”, in which Moso dug up a takenoko (bamboo shoot) from the snow in the middle of winter that his sick mother wanted to eat. Moso lost his father at a young age and had to support his elderly mother. When his mother became ill, one winter day she said she wanted to eat a takenoko (bamboo shoot), so Moso went out to the bamboo grove and dug in the snow. However, there were no takenoko (bamboo shoots) to be found in winter, so Moso prayed to the sky with tears, and the snow melted, revealing many bamboo shoots from the ground. Moso took the takenoko (bamboo shoots) back home and made a hot soup with them, and fed it to his sick mother, who was cured of her illness and lived a full life. Moso Yama is also called “Takenoko Yama (筍山)” or “Takenoko Yama (笋山)”. It is said that the name of the town where Moso Yama is located is “Takanna-cho (笋町)”, which means “takenoko (bamboo shoots)”, and that the name was taken from the ancient tales of Moso. Incidentally, there are several types of bamboo, including mosodake, madake, and kurochiku.
★The “Nijushiko (Twenty-Four Filial Pieties)” was compiled by Kaku Kyoei of the Gen dynasty (China). The “Nijushiko (Twenty-Four Filial Pieties)” features 24 people who excel in filial piety so that they can serve as models for future generations.
The “Nijushiko (Twenty-Four Filial Pieties)” include “Rikuseki”, “Denshin Brothers”, “Tanshi”, “Saijun”, “Binshiken”, “Koukou”, “Gomou”, “Youkou”, “Choukou Brothers”, “Teiran, “Ouhou”, “Oushou”, “Kyoushi”, “Mousou”, “Kakkyo”, “Touei”, “Shun”, “Kanbutei (Ryukou)”, “Sankoku (Kouteiken)”, “Yukenrou”, “Shujushou”, “Soushin”, “Toufujin”, “and “Rousaishi”.
*reference・・・Moso Yama website

【Features (subject to change)】

★Moso Yama weighs about 0.54 tons. (2008 Data) Moso Yama is marked by a pine tree stretching into the sky.
★The Goshintai (deity figure) of Moso is dressed in Chinese costume with a hat, holding a snow-covered bamboo shoot in his right hand and a hoe in his left hand, which he carries on his shoulder. It is said that the Goshintai (deity figure) was once burnt down and was rebuilt in 1796 in the late Edo period (1796-1868) by the Shichijo Daibutsu sculptor Kocho Sakyo.
★The metal fittings of the “Guncho-zu (the engraving of birds)” on the ranbuchi were sketches by Kono Bairei.
★The miokuri was the tsudurenishiki with a cloud dragon pattern, but from 1940, it was replaced by the “Shirojibokuga Chikurin-zu (Bamboo Groves)” drawing by Takeuchi Seiho. The bokuga (ink painting) is more restrained than those on other Yamahoko floats, but it is said to be unique in its own way. The do-kake (side) is the tsudureori of the “Senkyo Sansui Jinbutsu-zu (Landscape Figures)” made in 1808 in the late Edo period (1603-1868), but was replaced by the “Sabaku Rakudako (Hi) (Desert Camel (Sun))” and “Sabaku Rakudako (Tsuki) (Desert Camel (Mon))” newly designed by Hirayama Ikuo in 2008 and 2009.
★Chimaki, which has the benefits such as filial piety, hand towels, sensu (fans), postcards, etc. are available for purchase.

【Events (confirmation required)】

★In Former Festival Yoiyama from July 14th to July 16th, Komagata-chochin lanterns of Moso Yama are lit and Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music) is played in the evening.
★In Former Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade) on July 17th, Yamahoko floats, including Moso Yama depart from Shijo-Karasuma and parade along Shijo-dori, Kawaramachi-dori, and Oike-dori.

【Moso 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