July is a month of 2 kanzashi seasons. Always festive and always cooling, we both the classic monthly fans, and the ever changing Gion Festival designs. For most of the month we see the sensu (folding fan) for junior maiko, and uchiwa (round fans) for senior maiko. Each fan kanzashi decorated with various designs across a silken ground. The Gion festival held for 2 weeks through out the month we see an ever changing display of the most beautiful glittering kanzashi with cool motifs in pastel hues. Every year has its own unique design for those 2 weeks, though a specific butterfly design seems to be a constant used by some maiko not adorned with the unique design of the year.

Tsuyushiba kanzashi

One of the most poetic kanzashi motifs is called tsuyushiba which represents dew drops on grass.

Most often seen with pinks, it's abstract form and sparkle make it one of the most intriguing kanzashi."


The most common kanzashi motif in July is fans. Lovely silk fans decorated in tiny tumami-e flowers. Round fans (uchiwa) are worn by the senior maiko, and folding fans (sensu) by junior maiko


Gion Matsuri kanzashi

Every July Gion Matsuri is held a which is a massive event throughout the month in Kyoto. Maiko wear their hair in a special style for it between the 10th to 28th of July, and some of the most elaborate kanzashi of the year. Each set features a large side kanzashi like the rest of the year, but also a stunning bridge kanzashi displaying various motifs over a ground of silver cherry blossoms. For a junior maiko the bridge is made up of 3 rows of larger silver sakura with the back of the silver butterflies reflecting a pink backing, and for the senior maiko the bridge is made up of 5 rows of smaller silver sakura with pale blue reflecting butterflies. The colors on the main kanzashi motif also change depending on rank, with junior maiko wearing brighter colors and "lucky" red, and senior maiko with more subdued colors such as purple.

In the past the butterflies on the elegant bridge kanzashi also featured egret feathers which moved gently in the breeze. These days the supply of these feathers last gathered in the 1950's is running low making the kinetic feathers of the Gion matsuri kanzashi a feature fading into the past.

The designs for the Gion matsuri change each year, but pretty pastel butterflies seem to be a constant.


Folding fans and swirling water were the special kanzashi motif for the Gion festival in 2010. The purple flowers of the senior maiko kanzashi were in part replaced with red for this design when worn by the junior maiko that year.


An unusual morif of iridescent butterflies with red spots for junior maiko and purple spots for senior maiko was the Gion matsuri motif for 2012
Primary Motifs
Additional Decorations
Fans Pinks
Tsuyushiba clematis
Gion Festival
Recurring Motifs
??? (2013) Pastel butterflies
Iridescent butterflies and grass (2012) Tsuyushiba and pinks ?
Dragonflies (2011) Dragonflies and water pools ?
Folding fans and swirls (2010)  

fans with dragonfly design (2009)

Spiderwort (2008)  
Round Fan with flower design (2007)  

Iridescent pampas grass (2006)

Bright dragonflies (2005)  
starting from 2005




There's still more to add so check back later!


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