© The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Gion festivai is one of the most famous and historical festivals in Japan. It takes place every summer in Kyoto and has continued for 1200 years as a purification ritual to ward off illness and disaster. The highlight of the festival is the Yama Hoko Junko grand procession of gorgeous floats on July 17 and 24.

The Naginata Hoko float is always first in line in the procession, although the order of many floats is determined by a lottery. It takes three days to build the floats using ropes but no nails. This is a traditional technique called Nawagarami.

The Chigo sacred child on the Naginata Hoko float cuts a rope that represents the boundary with the divine realm and the procession begins.

The Yomiuri Shimbun was the first to film with a 360-degree camera inside of the Naginata Hoko float.

You can watch a 360-degree video of Gion Bayashi musicians on the Naginata Hoko float.

Enjoy a virtual Naginata Hoko tour via the " 360-degree photos" below. You can see its ceiling paintings and other elements.

Movie and 360°Photo: Tetsuya Kikumasa (photo dept) Direction: Miku Sawano (dept of arts&culture), The Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka

© The Yomiuri Shimbun