A Kyoto tourism association is selling premium tickets worth ¥400,000 ($2,770) each to view the Gion Festival, one of the largest festivals in Japan, held annually in July.
The 84 seats, mainly for foreign tourists, will be set up at an intersection in the heart of the city. From there, they can witness the captivating spectacle of traditional floats spinning 90 degrees through the power of human effort as one of the highlights of the Yamahoko parade portion of the festival on July 17.
Ticket holders can enjoy this spectacle from their seats, or legless chairs placed on a heightened platform with tatami mats and Japanese-style sunshades, according to the Kyoto City Tourism Association.
The festival will feature more than 30 Yamahoko floats, some weighing more than 10 tons, in the parade. The ticket holders can listen via headphones to explanations in English and Chinese while drinking beverages and eating Kyoto cuisine, the association said.
The highest price for a paid seat had previously been ¥20,000, according to the association.
For the newest premium seats, tickets went on sale June 19, and several have already been sold.
"We wanted to offer a service that would add value to the experience of people from inside and outside Japan and help them understand the culture," an official of the association said, adding profit from the festival will be used to preserve cultural traditions.
The festival originally started in the city in 869 to pray for an epidemic to disappear. From 970 onward, it turned into an annual Shinto festival to welcome and send out gods, according to the city office.
The Yamahoko parade, specifically the float ceremony of the Gion festival, is one of the 33 festivals in Japan added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016.