The portable shrines you’ll see at most Japanese festival, the omikoshi, aren’t that heavy in themselves, usually the logs or poles that the omikoshi is carried upon weighs far more. The whole set can vary between 500-4500kg. Naturally the big ones are not suitable for kids so instead the local children are given miniature omikoshi to practice. At the Kurayami Matsuri in Tokyo’s Fuchu City I saw these mini-omikoshi being carried around town by the local kids. It was really difficult to get any decent photos, not only did I have to adjust for the glaring sun playing hide and seek between clouds, but also the kids were fast, almost running! They had crossed over the first main gate of the shrine into the inner courtyard in less than half a minute. Fuchu kids really take after their parents. The heart of the Kurayami festival is the historical Okunitama Shrine, consecrated in the year 111 A.D. The beautiful gate you see in the background though was rebuilt in 2011 A.D. and still smells of fresh wood!
Here’s a few photos of kids that I saw at the fantastic Chichibu Night Festival in western Saitama prefecture north of Tokyo, December last year. I think the first photo would do nicely in my “handsome fathers with their kids” ongoing photos project! Maybe I should create a tag for those photos? I also loved how the two cool little men climbed the high wall – sometimes Japanese parents are refreshingly liberal with their kids, not to mention the little girl who took her father’s fan and started to direct the festival float from her spot high up! She was just too adorable not to share with the world! The future of Japan is looking bright! Read more posts about the Chichibu Night festival here!
How do you take ten kids from an inner city kindergarten to a play ground safely, with only two teachers? The Japanese have a way that I haven’t seen in any other country so far, the push cart! Here’s two teachers in Kyoto in front of the Heian Jingu taking their little students to enjoy a bit of play time. Most kindergartens in bigger Japanese cities are very small compared to western ones so most of the smaller kindergartens take the kids to local parks. It’s supposed to be autumn but this morning in Kyoto was hot like summer.
You know it’s summer in Japan when the guys wearing the jinbei starts showing up. The other night I had a long discussion at a bar with a Japanese couple on where and when it is sociably acceptable to wear a jinbei. A jinbei is a two piece easy lounge version of the yukata which in itself is an even more causal version of the kimono. The discussion, although very informative, sadly never touched on the subject of patterns. I think a dinosaur patterned jinbei would be socially acceptable just about anywhere. This little boy at a festival last year really pulled it off!