JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.78

COLUMN

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri

There are many festivals that take place in Japan throughout the year. Among these, the Gion Matsuri (festival) held in Kyoto at Yasaka Shrine is widely considered to be one of Japan’s three major festivals. It has a long and vibrant history and is held every year during the entire month of July.

Gion Matsuri is said to have begun some 1,100 years ago when floats were made and paraded in the town to appease the deity of plague and illnesses.

The Yamahoko float ceremony, inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, takes place in downtown Kyoto.

The largest of the 33 floats is about 25 meters tall and the weight of this float during the procession reaches about 12 tons, which is close to the weight of a Type 96 Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier used by the GSDF.

Additionally, GSDF Camp Katsura is located in the Nishikyoto neighborhood of Kyoto.

GSDF Camp Katsura is the only GSDF camp located in the city of Kyoto, known as a town with a long and storied history and culture.

The Commander of the GSDF Middle Army Logistics Support Unit also serves as the commander of the camp. The 103rd Unexploded Ordnance Unit is one of the units stationed at the camp and it works with civilians through its handling of unexploded ordnance.

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