It was July 17, hot and humid as usual for this season in Kyoto. I was late to come. When I arrived at Kyoto, famous Yamaboko Junko had already been over. Then, I was wandering around central Kyoto for nothing and I happened to see a sign that says, "three Mikoshi (portable shrines) will tour around Gion area starting from Yasaka Jinja (Yasaka Shrine) this evening." I learned later that this event was called Shinko-sai. I went to the west gate of Yasaka Jinja and found many people waiting for the Mikoshi. I joined them and was standing for more than two hours before the first Mikoshi came. I should have gone in the Jinja and looked at the start of Shinko-sai but I did not know when the Mikoshi would come. So I just waited, waited and waited.

Though it was worth while waiting.

Here they came. Men were carrying Mikoshi on their shoulders with cries of "Hoito, Hoito." They stopped in front of the west gate and lifted the Mikoshi and turned it around several times yelling "Mawase, Mawase" which means "turn it around, turn it around."

Click a thumbnail bellow to see a movie

I heard a girl standing beside me murmured "I would do this if I were reborn as a man." Yes, I was sure she would. If I were younger and living here, I would definitely be among them and thrusting up that heavy Mikoshi. I think that this is a Matsuri (festival) which makes many people, men or women, boys or girls feel like that.

The second Mikoshi of three came and went on toward Gion. I followed it. They went through Gion area. They marched yelling "Oisa, Oisa" or "Hoito, Hoito" and from time to time they moved the Mikoshi roughly.

Click a thumbnail bellow to see a movie

Occasionally, they took brief rests and women in kimono, or Japanese traditional dress served them drinks. About three hours later, around ten o'clock in the night, they arrived at the destination and they performed thrusting and turning the Mikoshi around before installing the Mikoshi into the place called "Otabisho" which means literally "the tour place". Three Gods from Yasaka Jinja stay here for 7 days then return to the Jinja on the same Mikoshi on which they came. The returning of Mikoshi to Yasaka-jinja is called Kanko-sai that I did not have chance to see. Too bad !!! Maybe next year...