Yama Boko at Gion Matsuri

Gion_Matsuri
Gion_Matsuri

Yama Boko, the grand procession of floats and main event of Gion Matsuri, is held on July 17 every year. The first Hoko float of the parade holds the Celestial Child (Chigo in Japanese), and the second, third and fourth Hoko floats have figurines instead of a real child. This photo is a close up of the figurine on the second float.

The Hoko floats are the larger two-story floats in the procession. They are so big they need to be pulled by large groups of men, anywhere from 15 - 50. The Yama floats are smaller (though still incredibly heavy) and are actually carried on the shoulders of the men from whatever district of Kyoto the float is from.

For any photographers interested in photographing Yama Boko, I recommend a lens of at least 200mm and preferably 300 mm. This photo was taken in 2008 with a Nikon 70 - 200mm VR1 on a Fuji S5 Pro. With the 1.5x crop factor and the lens at 200mm, I had just enough reach for a photo like this one.