Hokotate (鉾建て, the assembling work for floats of Gion festival) was launched yesterday.
Among the 33 floats of the festival, the most famous one is the Naginata-boko (長刀鉾). Every year, the magnificence of the float has been enchanting many visitors. As you see in the picture below, Oh-naginata (大長刀, a big pole sword) is set on the top of the roof as Hoko-gashira (鉾頭, the symbol of the float), which is believed to cut and drive away any illnesses and evils along the streets. The interesting thing is that the Oh-Naginata is set avoiding its edge to face the direction of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) and Gosho (the Imperial palace).
Gion festival, a spiritual home in every Kyoto resident's heart, is driven by their fervent passion to keep the tradition with full of grace.
Shijo-Karasuma, Kyoto city bus