I still haven’t shared 1% of the photos I took of the twice (or thrice actually) annual Sagimai dance ritual in Asakusa’s Sensoji temple earlier this year. As part of one of their three performances during the day (naturally I saw all three of them) they perform a procession as they retire back to the temple that is their base during the day. In this procession they are guided by local participants that acts other roles of the mythical reenactment. Someday I would love to see them perform or train in their home shrine, the famous Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, one of my favorite shrines in the world.
Some more costumes from the photogenic Kyoto Jidai Matsuri, the festival of the ages! One of my favorites are the gorgeous costumes worn by the women with the pointy white headwear. I think they might be saleswomen but I am not sure what era they recreate. The warriors don’t look half bad either but I always wonder how effective their bows could have been in combat?
It’s just a few more months until the colorful Jidai Matsuri, the festival of the ages, hits Kyoto, and then a little later Tokyo. I took these photos last year, and I especially liked the men in the blue costumes, representing warriors from the Yamanashi Clan of present day Gunma and Tottori prefectures. The tall halberd carried by the man in the last photo is a naginata, one of the traditional weapons of Japan. These days it is a modern sport mostly practiced by women. I have never seen it performed live but there are sometimes very impressive show fights on TV where one woman with a long naginata blade incapacitates two or more sword fighters on her own! And of course, the little kids put up a great show, this parade lasted the better part of a day, winding its way through central Kyoto. The sunlight was harsh that day so I walked in front of them until about midpoint until I found a spot with a proper shadow to even out the light a little.
All of these costumes are historical representation, more or less faithful to how the originals looked back in old days. Isn’t it interesting how even the most average looking old man looks warrior-like in these costumes?
Nougaku, or Noh for short, is one of the original art forms of Japan. Even today, living in Tokyo I get to see a few performances every year. This one was held at Asakusa Shrine just next to the famous Sensoji temple during last weekend’s Sanja festival. I couldn’t help getting a picture of one young member of the audience in his festival finest.