Tokyobling's Blog

Kagurazaka Festival

Posted in People, Places by tokyobling on October 15, 2012

Autumn is here and it is getting chilly. Too chilly to go outside in only a shirt, at least in the evenings. It’s certainly a relief to be able to go outside without being drenched in sweat but I already miss summer and the fantastic summer festivals, so in a moment of nostalgia I look over some of the festival photos that I didn’t think about publishing, taken earlier this year. One of the most low-key but interesting festivals must be the Kagurazaka Matsuri in Shinjku Ward’s most hippest district. It’s rapidly turning into a tourist attraction, like a mini-Kyoto in Tokyo. In fact, Kagurazaka is the only place in Tokyo where I have seen real geisha in the streets, not once but twice. The Kagurazaka festival is held in July each year, with food and drink stalls set up along the long sloping road and even some live performances by famous singers, I saw Hitomi Matsunaga perform at a temple on the side of Kagurazaka street, and enka really adds to the mood of any festival! The beautiful Ms. Matsunaga sings enka that is a bit sweeter and not quite so nostalgic as others, making her music a bit more fitting for these festive occasions. If you’ve never heard of enka music, you can see one video of her performing here. Be warned though – enka is easily the variety of Japanese pop music that foreigners (and Japanese too for that matter) find it hardest to enjoy.

It was great to see all kinds of people come out for the festival, from people in suits straight from the office to kids, young couples and even some very well dressed beautiful young ladies. In fact, most of the shops had a discount for anyone dressed in traditional Japanese clothes, so there was a large percentage of both men and women dressed really nicely! Even in these festivals though there are a lot of people working, taxi drivers ferrying guests, restaurant staff manning the booths, neighborhood associations organizing games and events, the temple priests were busier than ever, sound engineers to make sure the beautiful music is carried across the entire festival area, delivery men making sure the restaurants are stocked and security guards working extra to make sure traffic runs smoothly and that no one gets injured. And even though there were a lot of drinking, nobody got too drunk or aggressive. Just another perfect festival in a civilized society. I love Japan!


6 Responses

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  1. lilichan06 said, on October 15, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Wonderful photos!
    Stunning light … and sweet atmosphere .. I wish I was there ….
    I love Japan too 😉
    Thanks and have a nice day!


  2. C said, on October 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

    So if you spot a geisha, does that mean something? Like 7 years of prosperity, a winning lottery ticket, free meals for life…? 🙂

    And it hit me: I have been to this neighborhood before, as it’s fairly unique with the sloping hill and tree-lined street. Only it was at an izakaya with corporate types, so I didn’t remember where I was in the end (other than a long confusing name that my plum-wine-infused brain could not remember). Small world!


  3. romainboitier said, on October 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Incredible feeling in those pictures, i think the orangish coloc and the attitude of the people help to feel the warm air.
    Is tokyo that hot? even now?
    I know i keep on saying that but, I have to come 😦


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 4:36 am

      It was very hot when I took these, not so much when I posted it and now it is a bit cold. I already miss the summer, sweat and all! (^-^)


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