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Gion Matsuri

An annual festival of the Yasaka Shrine which is said to have been inaugurated to counter an epidemic which the people in the Heian Period believed was a curse of vengeful spirits. Each July, the entire city of Kyoto gets swept up in a festive mood and various rites and ceremonies are observed.
The highlight is the Eve (Yoiyama) on the 16th followed by "Yamaboko-junko" -- a procession of towering floats through the streets -- on the 17th. Around the 10th, nine wheeled floats topped by a tall spearlike pole (hoko) and twenty-three smaller floats (yama) appear on Shinmachi and Muromachi streets. Each hoko is decorated with precious ornaments imported from various parts of the world such as Dutch embroidery, Gobelin tapestries, Persian carpets and Nishijin weavings.
This is one of the three major festivals in Japan.

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