My husband and I went to visit his hometown, Kyoto so he can introduce me to his family. We met in United States, but both of our families reside in Japan. My husband wanted to show me the famous summer festival that occurs every year in his hometown. This festival is called the “Gion Matsuri.” It is one of the oldest traditions in Japan. In fact, this festival has been running for more than 1,000 years. You can learn more about it here: http://www.kyotoguide.com/ver2/thismonth/gionmatsuri.html
You can watch the youtube clip of we made of the Gion Festival.
I never experienced being surrounded by so many people in my whole entire life. I felt like I was in Disneyland, but during Christmas and multiplied by several more thousand people. I even had a couple of people step on my foot without even recognizing that they did. The atmosphere was bustling with people selling delicious Japanese pancakes called Okonomiyaki and games where children can catch gold fish to take home.
During the festival, they had the most important parade where thousands of people dressed in white hold the shrine called Otabisho. It is believed that the shrine gives good fortune. The festival is one month long and they travel all around Kyoto to their final destination.
Another place we went in Kyoto was a boat ride on Hozugawa Kudari River. You can learn more by clicking here: http://www.hozugawakudari.jp/en/history-en
Watch the youtube video we created of this boat ride here: youtube Hozugawa boat ride
Here are some photos we took on the boat:
Here is a photo of how they use the long oar to travel. There is an imprint on the rock from the oar due to thousands of years of people using the same route to carry many different things such as logs, rice, and charcoal from one destination to another.
Towards the end of our tour, they had another boat selling food and drinks. This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience eating delicious sticky rice and cooked squid on a moving boat. You must try if you ever take this tour!