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  1. 札幌雪まつり(北海道札幌市)
  2. 青森ねぶた(青森県青森市)
  3. 隅田川花火大会(東京都)
  4. 高山祭(岐阜県高山市)
  5. はだか祭り(愛知県稲沢市)
  6. 若草山の山焼き(奈良県奈良市)
  7. 祇園祭(京都府京都市)
  8. 阿波踊り(徳島県徳島市)
  9. よさこい祭り(高知県高知市)
  10. 長崎くんち(長崎県長崎市)
  11. エイサー祭り(沖縄県沖縄市)
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People in matching traditional attire pull a float down the street,  in front of an office building
People parading through the streets of Kyoto, pulling yamaboko.
Photo Courtesy of Stereo Photo Gallery Kawagoe.
Gion Festival (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
Long the center of aristocratic culture, Kyoto still observes many ancient customs. The Gion Festival is famous throughout Japan as representative of Kyoto’s long and splendid history as Japan’s capital. Centered on the Yasaka Shrine in the center of Kyoto, this festival dates back to 869 AD when a terrible epidemic swept the region. Many people took it as a curse from Gozu-tenno, the bull-headed guardian deity of Yasaka Shrine, so a procession of portable shrines through city was organized to appease the god’s anger. This was the origin of the modern Gion Festival. This festival enlivens the city with events through the entire month of July. The showiest event is the yamaboko jungyō, the procession of great floats, or yamaboko. The magnificently decorated floats parade elegantly through the streets, and people gather to admire the spectacle. Each neighborhood has its own float, and generations of local families have participated in guiding their neighborhood float in the procession.
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