Kamakura Gion Omachi Matsuri

History

The Yakumo Shrine was established in about 1082 to protect the people of Kamakura from epidemics often associated with the rainy season. Yoshimitsu Minamoto, the founder, was inspired by the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto-originally known as the Gion Shrine thus the name of the festival. The Yakumo Shrine has four mikoshi, the oldest of which was constructed in 1742. Since 1860, local residents have been organized to care for and maintain these portable shrines.

The Kamakura Gion Omachi Matsuri commemorates and gives thanks for the founding of the Yakumo Shrine, a Shinto shrine, within the Omachi neighborhood of Kamakura. This grand festival is held annually on the second Saturday of July and continues for three days, during which time four mikoshi or portable representations of the shrine are carried through the local streets. The festival is said to have begun in 1349.

Visitors attending the mikoshi-buri are considered purified and blessed through their participation and viewing of this traditional event. Matsuri is the Japanese word for festival or holiday. Neighborhood festivals mark events in the life of a community both secular and religious in Japan. There are no specific matsuri days for all of Japan. Yukatas are the traditional attire for this event. One can always find in the vicinity of a matsuri, booths selling souvenirs and food such as cotton candy or takoyaki, games, such as goldfish scooping, and other forms of entertainment are often organized in conjunction such as an exhibition of local children's drawings.

SEE THE MENU ON THE PULL DOWN FOR INFORMATION ON THE EVENTS( Matsuri Guide)THAT YOU CAN WATCH - OWATARI (MIKOSHI TOUR) AND MIKOSHI-BURI (MIKOSHI SHAKING)