It is Monday afternoon here in Tokyo and people are getting ready for the big typhoon heading towards the city. The rains have started and as I am writing this the typhoon has made landfall in Kouchi Prefecture on Shikoku Island.
All this weather is keeping me holed up at home and has me thinking of water, so here are some photos from one of my favorite major festivals of the city, the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri in Tokyo’s Monzennakacho district. During this festival which attracts thousands locals and tourists local shops and even fire fighting teams prepare water, buckets and hoses to do their best to soak the revelers in water.
The annual festival at the Tomioka Hachimangu is a grand event on normal years, but once every third year the festival goes into hyper mode and grows much larger than usual. The 2014 Fukagawa Hachiman Festival was one of these special years and the rituals and celebrations were massive. I could only visit one of the evenings and one of the days but it must have been great. The festival is also known as the water splashing festival and the streets of the processions are lined with shopkeepers and even local fire departments at the ready to soak the participants!
At the Tomioka Hachimangu a couple of weeks ago I saw this performance of Indonesian gamelan music performed by a mixed troupe of dancers and musicians at the shrine itself. I had never seen it before and the fascinating music and movements were fantastic. Sometimes even traditional Japanese festivals show you things from completely different cultures. The performance was a huge hit with the audience. I overheard lots of people comparing it to the performances they had seen when visiting the island of Bali which in the last few years has become a very popular travel destination for Japanese tourists.
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!