Tokyobling's Blog

Kagura Dancers at Kitazawa Hachimangu

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 8, 2014

At the annual Kitazawa Hachimangu festival last month I saw these great looking dancers performing at the shrine stage, the kagura. I do not know the names of the styles they represent, but it is all part of the traditional Nihon Buyo. Some of them are comical, others are serious or mythical.

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Shinto Rituals at Kitazawa Hachimangu

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 5, 2014

One of the main draws of the annual grand Kitazawa Hachimangu festival in Tokyo’s Setagaya District is the beautiful shinto rituals and dances that are performed at the shrine’s Kagura stage. I took these photos of the performances at this year’s festival a few weeks ago. The children and young people who perform these rituals with such seriousness are really fantastic. I am already looking forward to next year’s festival!

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Nebuta Matsuri at Sakurashinmachi

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

This Saturday Tokyo was practically saturated with festivals. There were too many to even consider trying to see more than a few of them. On Saturday evening I visit the bigger than expected Nebuta Matsuri at Sakurashinmachi. The Nebuta festival is the most famous cultural export out of Aomori Prefecture up north, one of the most all-in festivals of the country with huge paper sculptures lit from within, thousands of dancers in what at first looks like a mosh pit at a punk festival, huge drums and a very addictive flute melody that tends to get itself stuck in your mind for days. In other words, great fun! Aomori prefecture is very far from Tokyo so there are quite a few festivals around Tokyo bringing Aomori to the city rather than the other way around.

Sakurashinmachi is famous for two things, horses and Sazaesan, the massively popular long running animated TV show featuring a multi-generational family living in this town. So over half of the Nebuta decorations are Sazaesan-themed and very popular with the kids! It is easy to get here, by the Denentoshi Line connecting with the Hanzomon Subway line in Shibuya. More photos to come!

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Matsuri Dog – Kitazawahachiman

Posted in Animals by tokyobling on September 11, 2014

Nothing suits a Japanese dog more than a bit of Japanese festival fashion! This young dog was a hit with all the photographers at the annual Kitazwahachiman Matsuri last week but didn’t seem to mind the attention one bit. I can’t keep a dog myself but if I did I’m afraid he would look something like this!

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