The highlight of the ancient, month-long Gion festival is Yamahoko-yoko, in which vast floats – some weighing more than 9 tons – are paraded through the streets, adorned with 15th-century tapestries.
Throughout July the streets throng with festival-goers dressed in traditional summer kimonos and wooden shoes; delicious smells of yakitori (skewered chicken) and traditional battered octopus waft from vendors’ stalls. The parade dates back to the year 869 when Kyoto fell victim to a terrible plague, and a procession was initiated to appease the gods.
The Gion Festival takes place annually during the month of July in Kyoto and is one of the most famous and largest festivals in Japan. It is formally part of Japan’s indigenous, nature-based Shinto faith, and its original purposes were purification and pacification of disease-causing entities. Wikipedia