Yoimiya-sai of Gion Matsuri (July 15th, 2024)

Yoimiya-sai of Gion Matsuri

The information of Yoimiya-sai is presented here. Yoimiya-sai is held every year on July 15th. In Yoimiya-sai, the lights in the precincts of Yasaka Shrine are turned off and the divine spirits of the deities are transferred from Honden (Main Shrine) to three mikoshi (Nakagoza Mikoshi, Hgashigoza Mikoshi, Nishigoza Mikoshi) in the pure darkness. Three mikoshi (portable shrines) parade from Yasaka Shrine to Shijo Otabisho on July 17th and from Shijo Otabisho to Yasaka Shrine via Gokusho (Matabisho) on July 24th.

【Yoimiya-sai 2024 Schedule (confirmation required)】

Yoimiya-sai 2024 will be held on Monday, July 15th, 2024 at 20:00.
●Gion Matsuri Festival 2024 will start on July 1st, 2024 and end on July 31st, 2024.
Gion Matsuri Festival Schedule (July 1st-31st)

【Yasaka Shrine Location Map & Directions】

Address: 625 Gion-machi kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Gion bus stop (short walk), Keihan Gion Shijo Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station (about 8 minutes on foot), Subway Shijo Station (about 20 minutes on foot)

【Yoimiya-sai of Gion Matsuri brief overview】

Yoimiya-sai (宵宮祭, Senrei-sai, 遷霊祭) of Gion Matsuri Festival (祇園祭) is held every year on July 15th. Yoimiya-sai was originally held on the 16th, the day before Shinko-sai (Oide) on the 17th, but due to scheduling conflicts, Yoimiya-sai is now held on the 15th, two days before. In Yoimiya-sai, the lights in the precincts of Yasaka Shrine are turned off and the divine spirits of the deities are transferred in the pure darkness from Honden (Main Shrine) to three mikoshi (Nakagoza Mikoshi, Hgashigoza Mikoshi, Nishigoza Mikoshi), which are enshrined in Buden. In addition, three mikoshi (portable shrines) parade from Yasaka Shrine to Shijo Otabisho on July 17th and from Shijo Otabisho to Yasaka Shrine via Gokusho (Matabisho) on July 24th.
In Yoimiya-sai, a barrier is first set up between Honden (Main Shrine) and Buden, where the mikoshi is enshrined, and then Shinto rituals such as the norito-sojo by priest (the recitation of Shinto prayers by Shinto priest), are performed at Honden (Main Shrine). After the ritual is finished, the lights in the precincts of Yasaka Shrine are turned off, and while the sound of the koto plays, the divine spirits of the deities are hidden in a white cloth and transferred to three mikoshi (portable shrines) so that worshippers cannot see them. It is said that the divine spirits of the deities are first transferred to Nakagoza Mikoshi, then to Hgashigoza Mikoshi, and finally to Nishigoza Mikoshi. No photography is allowed during Yoimiya-sai.

★Nakagoza Mikoshi carries the divine spirit of Susano-no-mikoto, the main deity of Yasaka Shrine. Nakagoza Mikoshi is also called Sanwaka Mikoshi because it is carried by the yocho (kakite) of the Sanwaka Shinyo-kai. The Sanwaka Shinyo-kai is said to have originated with the Sanjodai Wakachu, who served from about 1690.
★Higashigoza Mikoshi carries the divine spirit of Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, the wife of Susano-no-mikoto. In addition to Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, Higashigoza Mikoshi also carries Kamuooichihime-no-mikoto and Samirahime-no-mikoto. Higashigoza Mikoshi is also called Shiwaka Mikoshi because it is carried by the yocho (kakite) of the Shiwaka Shinyo-kai. It is said that the Shiwaka Shinyo-kai replaced 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 (Otoshi-no-kami, Yashimajinumi-no-kami, Itakeru-no-kami, Oyahime-no-kami, Tsumatsuhime-no-kami, Ukanomitama-no-kami, Oyabiko-no-kami and Suseribime-no-mikoto).
Nishigoza Mikoshi is also called Nishiki Mikoshi because it is carried by the yocho (kakite) of the Nishiki Mikoshi-kai. The Nishiki Mikoshi-kai has been serving Nishigoza Mikoshi since 1947.
★Honden (Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1654 by Tokugawa Ietsuna, the 4th shogun of the Edo shogunate. Honden is about 400 tsubo and 15 meters high. Honden is modeled after the Shishinden of the Imperial Palace, and is said to be the Gion-zukuri (Yasaka-zukuri), with Honden and Haiden combined into one unique structure. Honden is said to have a deep well ryuketsu (dragon’s hole) underneath it, which is one of the seven wonders of Yasaka Shrine.
★Buden (Important Cultural Property) was built in 1903. Buden is decorated with lanterns dedicated by Ryo-tei (restaurant) and Hanamachi oki-ya. Dedication ceremonies are held at Buden. Maiko from Gion Kobe, Gion Higashi, Miyagawa-cho, and Pontocho dedicate their dances and throw beans on Setsubun every year. Mikagura is performed on the eve of Rei-sai (Rei-taisai) on June 15th, traditional performing arts are performed on Kangetsu-sai on Chusyu, and Bugaku is performed on Bugaku Hono on November 3rd.

【Yoimiya-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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