Summer is the time to tour the country and here is a very summerly shrine that I visited in Kyoto with the fantastic name of Manzoku Inari Jinja. I didn’t have time to stick around to learn anything about the shrine which still annoys me, but maybe someone reading this blogs knows more? There were plenty of statues around in this well kept shrine. There’s not many shrines actually, in the very buddhist city of Kyoto, so I usually try to drop in and have a look every time I pass one on my Kyoto city walks.
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?
Despite cars, millions of tourists and a cavalier disposition towards them, Gionmachi, or Gion as it is most well known, continues to be one of Japan’s top tourist attractions. The beautiful old streets have not changed much in the last century and a half and it is one of my favorite places in Japan. I visited on a week day night and took these snapshots while wandering around. I have been there many times but I have yet to take a single photo, or even a small series of pictures that manages to capture the atmosphere. Some day!