23 July 2011

Maiko Kyouka, photographer of Gion Matsuri

Maiko Kyouka, eye of a photographer
Kyoto 2011

Now I can say that I have something in common with Maiko Kyouka: Photography. She also took many pictures of Gion Matsuri main parade. We laughed looking at each other camera. I don't know about her pictures, but I am really glad about this one. 85mm, focus set on her eye.

21 July 2011

Geiko Sakiko at Gion Matsuri

Geiko Sakiko, portrait
Kyoto 2011

In the evening on Hanamikoji during Gion Matsuri.

Several Geiko and Maiko were gathered in front of the Ochaya Ichiriki. Usually they would already be inside with their guests. But on that night they were all waiting outside on Hanamikoji because a Mikoshi was brought through Gion famous street by the participants of the festival.

Everyone was very excited. I hardly had time to make this shot. A few seconds later I was pushed to the wall by the movement of the crowd.

19 July 2011

Gion Matsuri, Another wonderful day

Kyouka, Sayaka, Satsuki
 Kyoto 2011

Like last year, Kyouka, Sayaka and Satsuki had fun watching Gion Matsuri main procession and cheering the men pulling the hoko (Click here to view the same scene in 2010, Sayaka was still a Maiko and Satsuki not yet one).

And as every year, it was great to be there.

They are Gion "superstars" but so easy going and accessible. I am grateful to all of them for their kindness and the wonderful photo series.

Maiko Satsuki, watching the hoko
Kyoto 2011

Gion Matsuri, on the hoko

Dreaming, boy portrait
Kyoto 2011

This little boy would like to climb on the top of the hoko during Gion Matsuri main procession. Looks like fun. But this is too high and not stable at all. Look at him !

On the hoko, Gion Matsuri main procession
Kyoto 2011

18 July 2011

Gion Matsuri 祇園祭, main procession

Hoko, Gion Matsuri 
Kyoto 2011

Gion Matsuri is the most famous festival in Japan. It takes place every year in July in Kyoto and is crowned by a procession on July 17th called Yamaboko Junkō (山鉾巡行). This colorful parade consists of men dressed in traditional costumes pulling 32 portable shrines through some of Kyoto main streets, Shijo, Karasuma and Oike. The floats are usually called Mikoshi (神輿) throughout Japan but Hoko (鉾) in Kyoto. All floats are made of wood, assembled a few days before the parade, carry musicians and are decorated with tapestries and fabrics.

The festival is over 1100 years old and originates a series of disasters such as plagues, epidemics or earthquake in the 9th Century. The priest of Yasaka Shrine decided to lead a procession to pray and ask for a divine intervention to stop these disasters. The festival is held once a year since and remains very popular.

Pulling the hoko, teamwork
Kyoto 2011

16 July 2011

Children, gion matsuri

Children dance, Gion Matsuri
Kyoto 2011

Tomorrow will be Gion Matsuri main parade, and as every year, it's gonna be awesome. I took this  photo today during a dance performance on Shijo dori.

14 July 2011

Maiko Tanewaka, white gloves

Maiko Tanewaka, white gloves
 Kyoto 2011

Pure grace. Maiko Tanewaka, waiting for the taxi, wearing her white gloves to protect her skin from the sun.

3 July 2011

Maiko Satohina & Satohana, greetings

Maiko Satohina and Satohana, after the show
Kyoto 2011

These are 2 of the lovely Sato-girls, Maiko from Kamishichiken. They just performed a dance and are now greeting the audience. I like this angle. You can admire the Obi perfectly tied up and the neck which is the only part of the body that is not covered by the hikizuri (kimono) or oshiroi (white make up). After a dance performance, they often sweat but no one sees it because they face the audience. Afterwards, they always use a handkerchief before it spreads to the make up. So elegant, as always.