Tokyobling's Blog

Battling Dashi – Ometaisai

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 26, 2014

In Japan there are many kinds of festivals and there a dozens of ways to celebrate them. One of the more common ways is by having individual neighborhoods in the city or the parish to field their own dashi (山車), which are mobile, often huge, mini-shrines. Some are small hand pulled affairs barely large enough to contain a couple of kids on drums while others are massive things wheels that are almost two meters tall, engines, and place for a full traditional orchestra! The musicians are part of hayashi-troupes, with percussion, flutes and dancers they entertain the audience and please both Gods and spirits with their loud and lively music. The dashi are often involved in “battles” when they pass other dash on a parade, and even when they pass special mini stages or shrine they will offer battle with them, trying to throw the others off their rhythm or style.

I took these photos of the festival and the dashi at the annual Ometaisai, Ome Grand Festival, in early May. Another fun detail most people tend to notice is the traditional play with masks that in this ago mass consumerism takes the form of neat little plastic masks for kids and youngsters. There are lots of characters to chose from, traditional to new!

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Yoshiwara Gion – Shizuoka Prefecture

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 15, 2014

Today is the grande finale of the lovely Yoshiwara Gion Matsuri in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Fuji City. On the final day the main omikoshi of the local shrine will be handed over from neighborhood to neighborhood and afterwards the dashi parade starts up on the Yoshiwara main street as the different neighborhoods does their best to outperform the other’s in a friendly battle!

If you are in Shizuoka Prefecture today there really is no excuse to miss this once in a year event!

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Yoshiwara Gion Festival Kids

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 14, 2014

The Yoshiwara Gion festival is one of the biggest annual festivals in the city of Fuji in Shizuoka prefecture to the west of Tokyo. It kicks of tomorrow Saturday with the grande finale on Sunday when the streets will absolutely packed with both locals and tourists. One of the thins I love about this festival is that is essentially dominated by kids and younger people to a degree you don’t see in the bigger cities like Tokyo. Here are some of the photos I took of kids in full on festival mode during a an hour or so on the Sunday evening of last year’s Gionsai.

If you are in Shizuoka over the weekend or in Tokyo and don’t mind the hour and a half train ride, I can really recommend this festival!

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Yoshiwara Gion Matsuri – This Weekend

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 11, 2014

This weekend there’s as usual for the Japanese summer a whole slew of great festivals to visit. One of my favorites is the Yoshiwara Gionsai, or the Yoshiwara Gion Matsuri in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture an hour and a half on the train west of Tokyo. Fuji City and the Yoshiwara neighborhood is famous industries and manufacturing, hence the festival is quite lively, very down to earth and there’s plenty of kids and youngsters making this festival their own. I think it is partly this energy that makes it so much fun. There’s usually quite a few tourists from Shizuoka coming over to visit but not so many from Tokyo or Nagoya.

You can see more photos from the 2013 festival here:
Yoshiwara Gion Matsuri – Fuji City
Yoshiwara Gion Festival Beauties

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