When: July, annually.Yamaboko Junko parade is July 17th.
Where To Stay: Kyoto Hotels
Considered the most famous festival in all of Japan, the Gion Festival (festival of Yasaka Shrine) takes place annually during the month of July.
The Gion Festival dates back to 869 to appease the gods, and the festival still has some religious traditions including the selection of a local boy who cannot step on the ground from the 13th until the 17th, as he is considered the divine messenger.
There are a number of different events during the Gion Festival including the Yamaboko parade with floats on July 17th, proceeded by festivities in the evenings (Yoiyama). The parade takes place between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and travels 3 kilometers down Shijo, Kawaramachi and Oike Streets. Seats can be booked in advance for 3100 yen.
The floats of the Yamaboko parade are impressive in size, towering 25 meters tall and up to 12 tons in weight. The floats are on wheels and are pulled by lines of people, dressed to represent different themes.
Click here for more information about the Gion Matsuri Festival.