Try Japanese Food Stands at Summer Festivals in Kyoto
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It’s now at the middle point of May and the next season is coming gradually.
When Japanese people think something about summer, “Natsu Matsuri”, summer festivals, probably comes to their minds first. The association of ideas is still continued. Summer festivals are commonly associated with food stands.
Summer = Festivals = Food Stands
A food stand is a necessary part of summer festivals as it excites people with good smell and lively atmosphere.
Let me give you some ideas about Japanese food stands and where you can find them in Kyoto.
On May 15, Aoi Matsuri Festival took place in the center of Kyoto. I visited Shimogamo Shrine to see the traditional parade by 500 of people wearing ancient costumes and makeup.
At Shimogamo Shrine, there were more than 10 kinds of food stands such as fried chicken, shaved sweetened ice and sweet rice dango. Short lines formed in front of each food stand and a lot of people seemed they satisfied their hunger and enjoyed the waiting time for the parade.
I chose Takoyaki, a ball-shaped Japanese snack, from among many choices.
Incidentally, takoyaki was first popularized in Osaka, it’s the comfort food of Osaka. However, Kyoto’s takoyaki has a different style of taste and some prefer it to takoyaki in Osaka. Kyoto is not only famous for old heritage sites and maiko/geiko, but it also has good food culture. Please try Kyoto style takoyaki on your trip.
■Where Else to Find Food Stands in Kyoto
For those who missed Aoi Matsuri and look for upcoming festivals to try food stands in Kyoto?
In July, there are big summer festivals taking place in central Kyoto.
Among those two festivals, it’s highly regraded to visit Gion Matsuri, one of the three biggest festivals in Kyoto. The festival of Yasaka Shrine is held for a month in July annually.
This video on Youtube shows overview of Gion Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZOdVVXqxPo
One of the highlights is maiko and geiko’s dance at Yasaka Shrine. They wear special kimono and dedicate a dance to gods of a shrine. Also, during Gion Festival, maiko have a special hairstyle called Katsuyama. Please pay attention to their unique hairstyle in July.
As I said in the beginning, food stands are necessary for Japanese summer festivals. Your sightseeing list won’t be checked off without trying them at summer festivals! The experience will be worth for you.