Gion Matsuri 2016: Maiko and Geiko of Gion Higashi dancing the “Komachi Odori” at the Yasaka Shrine.
This year, Maiko Fukuharu, Maiko Hinayū (Okatome Okiya), Maiko Kanohiro (Kanoya Okiya), Maiko Tomitsuyu and Geiko Tomitae (Tomikiku Okiya) performed on stage.
The Gion Matsuri was introduced in 869, when Kyoto’s citizens were plagued by several natural disasters.
This was thought be happening due to the angry rampage of the deity Gozu Tennō, so Emperor Seiwa odered that the people pray to the God of the Yasaka Shrine, Susanoo-no-mikoto, and ask him to stop Gozu Tennō.
This was repeated every year if there were natural disasters or plagues ailing Kyoto’s residents and im 970, it was officially made an annual event.
The Maiko and Geiko of Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Miyagawacho and Pontocho also participe in the Gion Matsuri; they are paraded through the inner city on a float and then put on a special dance to appease to Susanoo-no-mikoto.
Only Kamishichiken is not directly involved, because it lays nearer to the Kitano Tenmagu Shrine than to the Yasaka Shrine.