Yamabushi Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

Yamabushi Yama of Gion Matsuri Festival

The information of Yamabushi Yama is presented here. Yamabushi Yama is a small-sized Yamahoko float (Kakiyama float), and its symbol is the pine tree that extends vertically to the sky. The name “Yamabushi Yama” comes from the fact that the Goshintai (deity figure) looks like a yamabushi (mountain monk). In Yamabushi Yama, Kumamon, a PR character of Kumamoto Prefecture, once promoted Kumamoto Prefecture.

【Yamabushi Yama Location Map & Directions】

Address: Yamabushiyama, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Subway Shijo Station (about 10 minutes on foot), Hankyu Karasuma Station (about 8 minutes on foot)
Location: Yamabushi Yama is located on Muromachi-dori, about 40 meters south of the intersection of Muromachi-dori (north-south) and Takoyakushi-dori (east-west).

【Yamabushi Yama History and Brief Overview】

★The origin of Yamabushi Yama (山伏山) 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 “Yamafushi Hoku 山ふしほく (in Shijo Bomon Muromachi)”, and Yamabushi Yama is said to have already been founded before the Onin War. Yamabushi Yama used to be in the form of a Hoko float rather than a Yama float. It is also said that Yamabushi Yama was damaged by the Genji-no-taika (Great Fire of Genji) in 1864 at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868).

★Yamabushi Yama is derived from the Yamabushi Jozokisho, who was once repaired by the Dharma Power when the Gojyu-no-to (the five-story pagoda) of Hokan-ji Temple, also called Yasaka-no-to, was tilted. Jozokisho was a monk of the Heian period (794-1185) who was said to be the master of the magic of Mt. Hiei-zan. It is said that when Yasaka-no-to (the five-story pagoda of Hokan-ji Temple) was tilted to the west, Jozokisho prayed for blessings, and at midnight, a light breeze blew from the northwest direction, shaking the earth and restoring it to its original shape. When Jozokisho was in Kumano for ascetic training, he returned to Kyoto with the news that his father was in critical condition, but he could not arrive it in time to see him die. However, he met his father’s funeral procession at Tsuchimikado-bashi Bridge, and when he chanted sutras calling for the return of his father’s spirit, his father temporarily came back to life and they were able to meet for the last time. It is said that Tsuchimikado-bashi Bridge was named “Ichijo-modori-bashi” after that.
★Jozokisho was born in 891 in the the middle of the Heian period (794-1185) as the son of the nobleman and Chinese scholar Miyoshi no Kiyoyuki. It is said that he read a thousand characters at the age of four, entered Buddhism at the age of seven, and then performed penance on sacred mountains such as Kumano and Kinpusen. In 902, he studied under Pope Uta (the 59th Emperor Uda) and became a monk, and then studied the esoteric Buddhism with Gensho at Enryaku-ji Temple and the Shittan with Daie. Jozokisho is said to have demonstrated talents in astronomy, medicine, bokuzei (divination), orchestration, and writing.
★The yamabushi (mountain monks) from Shogo-in Monzeki Temple visit Yamabushi Yama during Former Festival Yoiyama. In addition, priests from Yasaka Shrine perform Kiyoharai (purification) and monks from Rokkakudo Temple (Choho-ji Temple) perform Hoin, visitors feel the Shinbutsu Shugo (syncretization of Shinto and Buddhism) before the separation of Shinto and Buddhism. The sanbo (sanpo) used to make offerings to the gods are also Buddhist black-painted sanbo.
*reference・・・Yamabushi Yama website

【Features (subject to change)】

★Yamabushi Yama weighs about 0.60 tons. (2008 Data) Yamabushi Yama is marked by a pine tree stretching into the sky.
★The Goshintai (deity figure) is said to represent the figure of Jozokisho who entered Mt. Omine-san (Nara). The Goshintai (deity figure) takes the form of a mountain monk, holding a rosary in his left hand, an axe in his right hand, a horagai (conch shell) at his waist, and an oi (box) on his back. The hair is said to be made of human hair.
★The metal fittings of the ranbuchi are flying cranes.
★The mizuhiki is the tsudurenishiki of the “kishoku-zu”, the mae-kake (front) is the embroidered with a cloud-dragon pattern, and the do-kake (side) is the tsudurenishiki with a flower pattern. The miokuri (back) with a dragon wave pattern was made during the Min dynasty (China), and was partially retouched and added to in Japan, but was replaced witbyh a replica in 1999.
★Chimaki, which has the benefits of fire protection and lightning protection, hand towels, Chinowa amulets, etc. are available for purchase.

【Events (confirmation required)】

★In Kumamon-tojo around mid-July, Kumamon, a PR character of Kumamoto Prefecture, once promoted Kumamoto Prefecture.
★Yamabushi Yama Chinowa-kuguri from July 13th to July 16th, people walk through Chinowa ring about 2.5 meters in diameter and pray for protection from evil and good health.
★In Former Festival Yoiyama from July 14th to July 16th, Komagata-chochin lanterns of Yamabushi Yama are lit and Gion-bayashi (Gion Matsuri music) is played in the evening.
★In Yamabushi Yama Goma-daki on July 15th, yamabushi (mountain monks) from Shogoin Temple burn the dedicated the gomagi (wooden stick) and pray for the fulfillment of prayers and the safety of Former Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade).
★In Former Festival Yamahoko-Junko (Float Procession, Yamaboko Parade) on July 17th, Yamahoko floats, including Yamabushi Yama depart from Shijo-Karasuma and parade along Shijo-dori, Kawaramachi-dori, and Oike-dori.

【Yamabushi 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