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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer in Kyoto

Kyoto woman in yukata robe浴衣姿の京美人

Ah, summer(夏だ、natsu da)!

Cold beer(冷たいビール、tsumetai biiru), hand held paper fans(扇子、sensu), and women in light cotton robes (浴衣、yukata).

In mid-July, at Kyoto's annual Yoiyama Festival (宵山)- held on three successive nights prior to Gion Festival (祇園祭り), which is always on the 17th - women and men throw on their cotton (綿、men)robes and head downtown.

The streets are closed to cars from 6 pm until midnight. This in Japanese becomes "Pedestrian Paradise" (歩行天国、hoko tengoku). Hundreds of thousands of people from Kyoto and surrounding areas pour into the city for a giant street party.

Everyone strolls with a beer in hand. There is much to see, from the great floats(鉾、hoko)that will be pulled around central Kyoto, to the many beautiful women and men and children in their colorful (華やか、hanayaka)robes.

Tonight is the final night of Yoiyama, and Friday will be the main event of the Gion Festival.

By all means go! (是非行ってごらん!Zehi itte goran!)Or, in Kyoto dialect(京都弁、Kyoto ben): 是非行ってや zehi itte ya!

Women in Yukata, Kyoto© JapanVisitor.com

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