Yamahoko (mountain bikes) appear in many Japanese festivals. There are many theories about their role, some are used as props to eliminate demons, some are carried as the incarnation of gods, and some are used as part of the performance for the gods or local leaders to appreciate, so most of the mountain bikes have a gorgeous appearance. Generally speaking, the mountain is built to simulate the attitude of the mountain, and the trees are inserted to simulate the image of the mountain.
In the earliest Gion Festival, there was actually no Yamahoko, but there is no exact record of the time when the Yamahoko appeared in the Gion Festival. In 1500 AD, the civil minister of the shogunate at the time went to hold the Gion Festival, which had been stopped for 33 years due to the Onin Rebellion, and went to meet the elderly. I asked about the past of the Gion Festival, and I learned from the old people that before the Onin Rebellion, there were 32 Yamahoko in the front and 28 in the back. This is the only historical record of Yamahoko in the Gion Festival. The custom of Yamahoko has always existed in various parts of Japan, and it may be gradually integrated into the Gion Festival.
The Onin Rebellion (1467-1477) Japan entered the Warring States Period
The maintenance and activities of Yamahoko are carried out by the Yamahoko Preservation Association, and the town where Yamahoko is located has the same name as Yamahoko. Most of these Yamahoko Preservation Associations are composed of local people with lofty ideals. They spend a lot of energy and money to maintain the culture of Yamahoko, and this kind of spontaneous behavior of the people was well received by the review committee when they applied for the World Intangible Cultural Heritage in Kyoto's Gion Matsuri no Yamahoko.
It takes a lot of money to maintain the Yamahoko. In addition to the construction of the Yamahoko itself, which requires various traditional techniques, the humanoid decoration on it is also expensive. The Yamahoko parade is even called an action art museum, which shows its artistic value. The huge Yamahoko can be as high as ten or twenty meters and weigh more than ten tons. Therefore, when towing the Yamahoko, many people are required to cooperate and adjust it with various personnel. The mountain hobo, which cannot turn its wheels, even has a unique name Tsujihui し (つじまわし) when turning the corner. Bamboo is put under the mountain hobo's wheels, and water is splashed to reduce friction. Under the command, everyone pulls the mountain hob like a tug-of-war and changes direction. It is one of the highlights of the Gion Festival. There is usually a hiko (player) playing festival music above the Yamahoko. A mountain hoko parade requires a lot of manpower and material resources. In the past, Yingshan, which disappeared due to the war, will take four years to preserve the mountain hoko, and it will take 120 million yen to successfully return Yingshan to the Gion Festival this year (2022).
Eagle Mountain Resurrected in 2022
(Yamahoko turns, Tsuji returns)
The dolls, decorations, and gods on the mountain are related to the name of the mountain. For example, the tip of the long sword is a long sword, and the one above the mountain is the founder of Japanese Shugendo, and the one above the mountain in the daytime is all of us. Known poet Bai Juyi. Each Yamahoko has a story behind it, and learning about these stories and the layout of the Yamahoko is also a great joy of the Gion Festival.
The Godly Body of the Easy Walker Mountain
The Yamaho parade is divided into pre- and post-festival. There will be different Yamaho parades (parades) in the urban area of Kyoto. In the current Gion Festival, its popularity has replaced the original Gion Festival. You can watch the corner of Yamahoko (Tsujihui し), and you can even get a good seat early in the morning. This year, 140,000 people participated in the Yamahoko parade, and 80,000 people were involved in the latter.
Among the many Yamahokos, only one Yamahoko is the only one that still has a real child (children) on it in modern times. This Yamahoko is the first long sword to walk in the Yamahoko parade. This child will become the incarnation of God, destroying evil and showing righteousness. About the story of this child, the editor will write it in the next article about Gion Festival.
Watching Yamahoko under the scorching sun, in addition to sun protection, you should also pay attention to the control of sweat. If you're going with a significant other, don't defile this sacred occasion with an eerie smell while viewing Yamahoko. If you're going alone, don't let sweat ruin your chances of meeting a yukata beauty. The CBIC Deonatulle antiperspirant and deodorant stone directly sold by Ebisu Japanese Medicine has won the championship among Japanese antiperspirant products for many years. In addition to anti-perspiration, it also has an anti-odor function, which is an excellent partner for you to watch the parade of Yamahoko.
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