At the Chichibu Night Festival, the Chichibuyo Matsuri (秩父夜祭) in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo I saw this wonderful little dancers perform on one of the giant dashi (festival carts). It’s the first time I see Japanese traditional dance where the performer is dressed like this. Even though it is a night festival, the day is full of performances and events. The little dancer was accompanied by a couple of shamisen players.
As a bonus, I leave you with the final picture, which contains a few words of wisdom regarding parenthood, a fitting theme I think. Maybe some of my native English speaking readers could have a go at translating it for us? My English would not do justice to the beautiful Japanese message. Enjoy the weekend everyone!
I didn’t get to the grand finale to the big Chichibu Night Festival that was last night, but here are more photos from the last part of the the warming up event. These huge festival carts are massively difficult to move and requires the combined strength of more than a dozen men just to steer it in the right direction. In order to turn it around you need even more people and some very clever levers, but I’ll post more photos of that later, taken during the day. Although it is called a night festival it starts in the day and goes on until nightfall, leaving plenty of time for visitors to get on the last trains back to Tokyo. The men in the gorgeous outfits are actually tied to the wagons, as they tilt quite heavily during operation and it would not be fun to fall of. I also expect they had quite a lot to drink in order to stand the zero degree weather. Just as the festival ended we actually saw some snow fall, unseasonably early in the winter for this part of Japan! More photos to come!
If you are in Tokyo or Saitama today and have no plans – head over to the Western Saitama city of Chichibu and enjoy their massive Night Festival, the Chichibuyomatsuri (秩父夜祭)! One of the few full on festivals taking place in the winter here in Kanto. This year is exceptionally cold so that means even thinner crowds for those of you that prefer to be around fewer people. I was there last night and took these pictures. Last night was the teaser for the main event which takes place tonight, when all of the huge (they really are much bigger than normal) dashi (festival carts) come out. Last night there were only three of these monsters being puller around the little town of Chichibu but fantastically looking young members of the community. The carts are very expensive and decked out in perfectly with paper lanterns containing real candles. I’ll post more photos later on, but for now please enjoy these handsome men and the gorgeous young ladies taking part in one of the best festivals of the Kanto area! There’s even going to be fireworks! Getting there is a little complicated, it’s about two hours on the local trains from Ikebukuro, or you can splash out on the express which is faster but more expensive. Well worth the trip though!
Another of the many great dashi (mobile ritual stages) of the Hachioji Matsuri, the city festival earlier this month. Yagicho is a small area between Hachioji and Nishihachioji but their dashi had four different dancers at once during the peak hours of the festival. Two white foxes and two red foxes. Foxes hold a special place in Japanese mythology and religion and if you’ve followed this blog for a while you will have seen a lot of fox related posts!