Special Exhibition “GION FESTIVAL in Kyoto”

Known as a leading festival of both Kyoto and the whole country, the Gion Festival has survived to this day after centuries evolving along with the history of Kyoto. The sumptuous Yamahoko floats decorated with fine arts and crafts from Japan, East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe are admired as “moving museums,” and are designated as National Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties in addition to being inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Gion Festival is a quintessential urban Japanese festival. Urban festivals generate many distinctive cultural traditions as they develop in close association with the city’s inhabitants.


General Information

Period:
24 March – 17 May, 2020
Venue:
The fourth and third floors
Hours:
10:00 – 18:00
Fridays until 19:30
*Last entry 30 minutes before closing
Closed:
Mondays (except 4 May) and 7 May
Admission:
Adult 1,500 yen (1,300 yen)
University Student / High School Student 1,100 yen (900 yen)
Junior High School Student / Primary School Student 500 yen (300 yen)
*Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
*Advance ticket available till 23 March.
*Tickets are available at The Museum of Kyoto, Lawson Ticket(L-Code 53595), Ticket PIA(P-Code 685-018) and ticket agencies
*Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
 Please present Disabled Person’s Notebook or similar identification.


 

THE EXHIBITION

Prologue – The Float Procession in Paintings -
 

A pair of folding screens depicting the whole of the Gion Festival in the Edo period 祇園祭礼図屏風(右隻) Folding screen depicting the Gion Festival(right wing), The late 17th century, The Hosomi Museum

A picture scroll depicting all of the floats that participated in one year’s the Gion Festival at the end 祇園祭礼絵巻 冷泉為恭 筆(部分) Picture scroll depicting the Gion Festival painted by Reizei Tamechika, 1848, The Kokugakuin University Museum

Chapter 1 -The Gion Festival and Float Procession in Records –

A drawing showing the figure of Kita-Kannon-yama before its grand roof was attached 北観音山古絵図 Picture of the Kita-Kannon-yama float
The mid Edo period
Kita-kannon Yama

A painting depicting the façade of Ofune-hoko in the Edo period 大船鉾図 岡本豊彦画 Picture of the Ofune-hoko float by Okamoto Toyohiko
The late Edo period
Ofune Hoko


A tourist guidebook series issued in the Edo period that included a description of the Gion Festival 『都名所図会』 Miyako Meisho Zue (“Pictures of notable sites in Kyoto”)
1780
Kyoto Prefecture


Chapter 2 – Decorating the Floats: The World of Decorative Metal Fittings -
 

A set of armor from the Muromachi period, worn by the object of worship of Jomyo-yama
黒韋威肩白胴丸 大袖喉輪付 Do-maru armor of black leather with white lines on the shoulder
Important cultural property
Muromachi period
Jomyo-yama

Decorative metal fittings on the corners of Niwatori-hoko, featuring eight precious fruits valued from ancient times 角飾金具 成物尽文様八珍果文様 Decorative metal fittings on the corners
Important tangible folk-cultural property
1825
Niwatori-hoko


The oar held by Tsukuyomi (the goddess of the moon) enshrined in the Tennoza chair of Tsuki-hoko and Ornament on top of the spear of Tsuki-hoko, with the engraving of the year, Genki 4 (1573) 櫂 銅製金鍍金 鉾頭 銅製金鍍金月形 Oar created by Okazariya Kan’emon / Spear-top ornament created by Onishi-ya Kan’emon
1573
Tsuki-hoko

Decorative metal fittings on the corners of Hakuga-yama, featuring delicate openwork of chrysanthemum flowers 角飾金具 菊唐草透し彫り文様 Decorative metal fittings on the corners
Significant tangible folk cultural asset
1853
Hakuga-yama


Chapter 3 – Decorating the Floats: The Beauty of the Decorative Fabrics –

Rearmost brocade of Niwatori-hoko, woven in Belgium in the 16th century and then brought to Japan




鶏鉾飾毛綴 Decorative woolen fabric on the Niwatori-hoko float
Important cultural property
The 16th century
Niwatori-hoko

A tapestry which both Niwatori-hoko of the Gion Festival and another float of the Nagahama Festival have users their rearmost brocades. A tapestry that once was part of the rearmost brocade of Niwatori-hoko, later brought to Nagahama in Shiga Prefecture 長浜祭鳳凰山飾毛綴 Decorative woolen fabric for the Ho-o-zan float of the Nagahama Festival
Important cultural property
The 16th century
Ho-o-zan


A European tapestry decorating the façade of Koi-yama 鯉山飾毛綴(見送) Decorative woolen fabric for the Koi-yama float (Rearmost brocade)
Important cultural property
The 16th century
Koi-yama


Design of the brocade decorating the façade of Hosho-yama 蘇武牧羊図 屏風(円山応挙筆) Folding screen (Painted by Maruyama Okyo)
Cultural property designated by Kyoto City
The 18th century
Hosho-yama

A brocade decorating the façade of Hosho-yama, drafted by Maruyama Okyo 前懸(旧)緋羅紗地蘇武牧羊図 刺繍 Front brocade
1773
Hosho-yama


Chapter 4 -Worship in the Gion Festival Floats -
 

The oldest existing costume in any yamahoko-owner-town 綾地締切蝶牡丹文様片身替 小袖 Kosode robe
Important cultural property
1589
Ashikari-yama

A costume worn by the Guo Ju (Kakkyo) statue, the object of worship of Kakkyo-yama 御神体旧衣裳 郭巨様 Former costume for the object of worship, Kakkyo
1641
Kakkyo-yama


Ceiling boards on Fune-hoko featuring colorful paintings of flowers and plants in round shapes gion04船鉾格天井 天保5年 金地四季花の丸図(服部五郎左衛門筆) Coffered ceiling of a houseboat on Fune-hoko
Significant tangible folk cultural asset
1834
Fune-hoko

The costume worn by a chigo (sacred boy) on Naginata-hoko, the symbol of the Gion Festival 長刀鉾稚児衣裳 Costume worn by a chigo (sacred boy) on the Naginata-hoko float
Significant tangible folk cultural asset
Currently being used
Naginata-hoko


Chapter 5 – Gion Festival Floats in the Wave of Modernization -
 

A “mantis” that once was mounted on Toro-yama かまきり(旧) Formerly-used decorative artifact “Mantis”
Cultural property designated by Kyoto City
The mid 19th century
Toro-yama


Paintings on the backside of the eaves of the Iwato-yama’s grand roof, by Imao Keinen 軒裏絵 金地四季草花図(部分) 軒裏絵 金地四季草花図(部分) Paintings on the backside of the eaves – Seasonal flowers on gold background, by Imao Keinen
Significant tangible folk cultural asset
1918
Iwato-yama


Rearmost brocade of Moso-yama, painted by Takeuchi Seiho’s own hand 見送 白綴地墨画孟宗竹藪林図(竹内栖鳳筆) Rearmost brocade by Takeuchi Seiho
Significant tangible folk cultural asset
1940
Moso-yama

Ornament on top of the spear of Kikusui-hoko, featuring a chrysanthemum flower with 16 petals 見送 白綴地墨画孟宗竹藪林図(竹内栖鳳筆) Spear-top ornament by Kobayashi Shomin
1952
Kikusui-hoko


Epilogue – Moving Forward -

Detailed picture of the three idols on Taka-yama, created in 1831 見送 白綴地墨画孟宗竹藪林図(竹内栖鳳筆) Picture of the sacred idols
1831
Taka-yama

Access to the Museum of Kyoto

・You can download a flyer
 (PDF 627KB)