The parishioners coming back form the Kamogawa river

The Gion Matsuri Festival, that had started at the beginning of the month of July, is coming to an end.  As mentioned, the signification of numerous events and ceremonies is related to the three deities of the Yasaka Jinja Shrine. After being brought out of the shrine on Mikoshi or portable shrines, they have been purified, carried around the city, and temporarily stored at Otabisho on Shijo Street. They have then been brought back to the Yasaka Jinja Shrine, and before they find again their regular place, there is one last ritual that takes place on July 28th, another Mikoshi Arai or Purification Ritual.

During this ritual, a group of parishioners carries a torch made up of bamboo from the Shrine to the Kamogawa River, and back. A Mikoshi is then brought to the river (Shijo Ohashi Bridge) and back to the shrine, with four large burning logs of bamboo. As before, with similar events, the ritual starts during daylight and finishes by night. The procession is rather fast paced and taking photos is obviously challenging, but with today’s camera, high ISO and fast lenses, the resulting photos can be beautiful. I am always surprised by the people using a flash in such cases as the atmosphere is then obviously destroyed.