Kyoto’s Gion Festival Offers Premium Seats for ¥400,000 Each

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The yamahoko junko float procession of the Gion Matsuri Festival takes place in Kyoto in July last year.

Want to be treated like a VIP while watching a procession during Kyoto’s famed Gion Matsuri Festival? For ¥400,000 per person, premium seats with special benefits are being offered for the event to be held July 17.

Mainly targeting tourists from overseas, the 84 seats were put on sale from Monday by the Kyoto City Tourism Association.

The premium seats will be set up at the Kawaramachi Oike intersection for an up-close view of the Gion Matsuri’s float procession called “yamahoko junko.”

The seating area will be designed in a traditional Japanese style with mats, floor chairs and zabuton cushions.

Premium seat customers will be served drinks and traditional snacks. Simultaneous interpretation of the event via an earphone will also be provided.

For the regular paid seating area on sale from June 6, the seats in the front row are ¥5,100 per person.

The launch of the premium seats has been designated by the Japan Tourism Agency as an enterprise for bringing back tourists from overseas. Through the added-value seats, the Kyoto City Tourism Association hopes to secure a profit that will aid the continuation of the festival.

The association will also sell set plans including viewings of yamahoko floats when they are not in procession and a meal at a traditional ryotei Japanese restaurant. The plans will soon be announced on the association’s website.