The Gion Matsuri festival is a month long celebration in July of the Yasaka shrine. The festival started in 869 as a religious ritual to rid the country of plague. The main part of the festival is the procession of over 30 ornate floats (Yamaboko) which pass along the main streets of Kyoto. It is on 17th and 24th of July. This is one of the great three festivals in Japan.