Floats participating in the Gion festival (23 floats at the former festival and 10 at the latter festival) can be roughly divided into two types, "YAMA" and "HOKO". See the pictures below.

The float and "Kaisyo" in "Yamahoko-cho" area

Each of these floats is built and operated by the unit (called "Kaisyo", meant as neighborhood)of each street block in the Yamahoko-cho area where this festival is held.Visiting ”Kaisyo” in the eves of the float procession, you can closely see luxurious carpets and accessories to decorate the float and can even actually get on the upfloor of Hoko.

Some of the tours at famous Hokos may be charged.



Toro-yama (Mantis Float)

The greatest feature of this float is the fact that the praying mantis and the wheels of the cow cart are linked to move together with an old traditional mechanical method. So this Toro-yama is regarded as one particularly unique among the Gion floats.


“Yamabushi” are Japanese mountain ascetics. According to their beliefs, mountains are the abode of supernatural powers and wisdom, which any man may acquire by practicing austerities for the proper amount of time. The figure on this float is “Jozokisho”, a famous Yamabushi in typical costume: a long white robe, with a hatchet and a rosary in his hands, and a conch shell in his belt.
The description was referenced from Gion Masturi Rengokai.


The three disks on the top of this float represent the sun, moon and stars. Hence this float was named “Hoka” (beaming). It is also said that the image of a monk named “Hokaso” enshrined in it is the origin of the name of this float. The celestial child on this float is a life-size puppet.The float, most renowned for its golden lacquer and gorgeous materials was made in 1878.
The description was referenced from Gion Masturi Rengokai.

And now the topic among the women who love Mickey Mouse is Three disks which is the symbol of Hoka-hoko because this shape seems to have inverted Mickey's silhouette.


The decoration on the top of this float symbolizes a crescent moon. Because the moon has been so admired by the Japanese people for its beauty since ancient times, even now it is often used as a theme in the fine arts, poetry, novels, and music.
This float is full of precious fine art treasures, such as the painting on the ceiling by Okyo Maruyama, one of the greatest Japanese painters of the 18th century, and the carvings at the gables by Jingoro Hidari, one of the greatest Japanese sculptors of the 17th century.
The description was referenced from Gion Masturi Rengokai.


This float is a recreation of one of the original halberd float types, and is noted for its enormous rooster-patterned umbrella. Traditionally, it was accompanied by a troupe of dancers wearing god masks.
In the Edo Period (1834), the float was rebuilt on a smaller scale with an umbrella on its roof. This, however, was destroyed in the great fire of 1868. From 1879 to 1884, the float participated in the festival parade.
It was renovated to its present appearance in 1979. The central figure in today’s dance is a bear carrying a halberd. Music is provided by bells, drums and flutes. The origins of this dance can be traced back to the 18th century, when it was practiced by the people of Mibu-mura.
The description was referenced from Gion Masturi Rengokai.