I took so many photos at the grand, once every three years, Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri a couple of weeks ago. This year I wasn’t about to get as close as last time I visited the festival and got doused in water, ruining my camera. So, here’s a few of the second-best shots, as close as i dared going. I visited on the Saturday of the festival while the main event was on the Sunday, so I missed the fire department and their big hoses for showing the omikoshi and the people underneath!
More photos from the grand Fukagawa Hachiman Festival, also known as the Mizukake Matsuri. I took there very early in the day when few omikoshi were anywhere near the shrine. There would be over a hundred of the eventually. There were also still only a few people lined up on the side of the streets with water and hoses and buckets, so the the omikoshi carriers got of relatively easy still. From my own limited experience of this I can say that carrying an omikoshi is bad enough (look at the guys up front – I doubt little things like pain and fear even bother them anymore) without having water randomly thrown or sprayed on your face and head! As usual with Japanese traditions there are highly practical reasons for everything – the omikoshi will toughen anyone up!
Last weekend saw the massive Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri in Tokyo’s Tomioka Hachimangu, Koto Ward. It ran from the 13th to the 17th but I only mananged to visit on two of the days, missing the grand finale on Sunday. The festivals is famously known as the Mizukakematsuri, or Water splashing festival for the focus on drenching the omikoshi and the participants in water.
The festival grows to many times it usual size once every three years when the grand fesitval takes place. 2014 was one such year! Your next chance to the grand version of this festival is in 2017.
In case you wondered about the omikoshi you see at festivals throughout Japan, they usually weigh about a ton each, but there is one truly gigantic omikoshi here in Tokyo. This is the fearsome beast of a shrine, weighing in at four and half ton, I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be handled. I took this photo of it earlier today at the Tomioka Hachimangu Grand Shrine in Tokyo’s Monzennakacho district. You can see this omikoshi in operation only once every three years, and I believe this chance is tomorrow! So if you are in Tokyo, here’s a grand way to spend your Sunday!