The Kita-Kannon Yama float during the Yoi-Yama evening, Gion Matsuri Ato

Like during the three nights preceding the first procession of July 17th, the three nights before the second procession of July 24th are also called Yoi-yoi-yoi-yama, Yoi-yoi-yama and Yoi-yama. The scale is, however, much smaller and the traffic isn’t closed on the main streets. As for the other evenings, in each neighborhood, the streets are packed with people admiring the Yamaboko floats and other decorations on display throughout this part of town. Families in the neighborhoods where the carts and floats stand, open their houses and shops to show their heirlooms. Festival music called “Gion-bayashi” fills the air. Stalls serving festival food and drinks add to the enjoyment. People who carry the floats gather around in their matching cotton yukata, while children sell amulets such as chimaki that are meant to ward off evil. The atmosphere is festive and it’s always a pleasant evening stroll. 

Aboard the larger Hoko floats, groups of musicians play music a good part of the evenings. A chorus of gongs, taiko drums, and Japanese flutes can be heard practicing around the floats. This music serves as part of a ritual requesting good weather for the following day’s big event. 

The above photo shows the Kita-Kannon Yama float during the Yoi-Yama evening. This float is the leading one of the second procession.