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Hometown Festivals Series No 10 – Furusato Stamps from Japan

Hometown Festivals Series No 10 – Furusato Stamps from Japan
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Japanese post issued the 10th collection of the series "Hometown Festivals" having as theme summer events and festivals throughout the country.  The current issue is dedicated to the Gion Festival in Kyoto Prefecture.

The Gion Festival takes place annually in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. It goes for the entire month of July and is crowned by a parade on July 17. It takes its name from Kyoto's Gion district.

During the Festival Kyoto's downtown area is reserved for pedestrian traffic on the three nights leading up to the massive parade. The streets are lined with night stalls selling food such as barbecued chicken skewers, traditional Japanese sweets, and many other culinary delights. Many girls dressed in summer kimono walk around the area, carrying with them traditional purses and paper fans.

Traditional event of the Gion Festival is Parade of yamaboko floats, illustrated on the stamps. The floats in the Parade are divided into two groups, Hoko and Yama, and are collectively called Yamaboko (or Yamahoko). There are 9 of the larger Hoko (long pole or halberd) which represent the 66 spears used in the original purification ritual, and 23 of the smaller Yama which carry life-size figures of famous and important people. All the floats are decorated with beautiful tapestries both from Nishijin (the finest in all of Japan) and imported from all over the world. In addition to the art, there are many traditional musicians and artists sitting in the floats.

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