Running the entire month of July every year, Gion is probably Japan’s best-known festival and one of the longest. Named after Kyoto’s Gion district, it is by far the country’s best event for geisha enthusiasts and photographers seeking candid photos of Geisha and Maiko. Traditional rituals and events related to this wonderful celebration are held throughout the month in Kyoto. The biggest events of the festival are the Yoiyama (the pre-party of the parade) on 14th – 16th July, and the two processions of traditional parade floats called Yamaboko-Junko held on 17th and 24th July which follow a 3km route along Shijo, Kawaramachi and Oike streets. Two types of float “Yama” and “Hoko” (collectively called Yamaboko) are used in these processions. A typical Hoko is about 25 metres tall, can weigh up to 12 tons and 30 – 40 people are needed to pull it! Unsurprisingly, Gion is rife with an abundance of incredible photo opportunities.