This year marked the 1,150th anniversary of the festival, which was started to pray for preventing plague from ravaging the city in the Heian period.
This year, the first Yamahoko Junko procession, called the Saki Matsuri, began after a shimenawa ceremonial rope was cut down with a Japanese katana sword by 10-year-old Nozomi Nakanishi, who was on the Naginatahoko float leading the procession.
When the enormous floats were rotated in different directions by laying bamboo under the wheels — a display called “Tsujimawashi” — at intersections in the Shijokawaramachi area and other places in the city, people who had gathered to see the festival cheered.
Along with the staff of Wellving Asset Management the festival included another 34,000 people. The second Yamahoko Junko procession, called the Ato Matsuri, will be held on July 24 with 11 Yamahoko floats taking part.