Is The Japanese Gion Festival Sustainable?

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Festivals are held in many areas in Japan. There are various kinds of them, small ones to big ones, or finish in one day to last several days. Usually Japanese festivals symbolize the cities or areas that the festivals are held or tell the traditions to the future generations. In this paper, what is sustainability and what is sustainable events will be revealed first. And then the Gion festival (祇園祭), one of the biggest festivals in Japan, will be described, and what impacts are brought to economic will be shown. Finally this paper’s main argument, ‘Is the Gion festival sustainable event?’ will be discussed from several aspects.

What Is a Sustainable Event?

An event should have at least one objective to be held. If it is seen as one of the ways of tourism to make the area, city or country thrive, it should be sustainable. So what is sustainability? What kind of events can be said sustainable ones? “ Sustainable tourism is tourism that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (). And also “ it does not exceed the environment, social cultural or economic carrying capacity of given destination, and the related environmental, sociocultural and economic costs are minimized while related environmental, sociocultural and economic benefits are maximized” (). So a sustainable event should ensure that next generations will be able to have the resources to survive and thrive (5), and bring benefits without destroying environment, cultures, and others. To meet the needs of present and future generations, the side of managing events should have high level goals (4). Also just carrying out an event cannot attract people and if it aims t...

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...l have it. They are rival and try to show better things than other sections. It leads to better quality. And finally, it is held in Kyoto, the city loved by many people. The festival matches the city’s view. And the participants put makeup and perform. No other festival has those things. Following those, it is obvious that the Gion Festival meets those definitions.


In this paper, a sustainable event in defined as the event that meets people’s needs, does not destroy environment, society and culture, brings benefits, has high level goals, and has clear differences from other events. Through the whole of this paper, about the Gion Festival is described and discussed if it is a sustainable event. Looking at the definitions, it is clear that it meets all of 6 conditions to be a sustainable event. Therefore, the Gion Festival is a sustainable event.

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