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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 20 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Rob Goss

In 869, Yasaka Shrine held a festival to ward off an epidemic. It’s now one of Japan’s biggest festivals, attracting millions to Kyoto every summer.

Although running through all of July, with numerous small events taking place, the most noteworthy parts of the festival for visitors are in the middle of the month, when there are daytime processions of giant floats and a lively street party atmosphere at night.

If you want to go all-in like a local, go in a yukata – lots of people wear these colourful cotton gowns to summer festivals and there are plenty of places to buy them in Kyoto.

It’s hot, humid, and crowded, but nevertheless brilliant.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 10+
Frequency: annually
When: July
Duration: 1 month

When to do it

The event is runs from July 1 to 31. The major processions are held during the day on July 17th and (in slightly smaller form) 24th when the giant, elaborately decorated floats parade along Shijo, Karasuma and Oike streets.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Kyoto

Kansai, Japan

Geisha woman with white face paint

Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.