Tokyobling's Blog

Atami Ginza – Kogashi Matsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 4, 2013

One of the main attractions in the southernly town of Atami in Shizuoka prefecture south west of Tokyo and Yokohama is the fantastically extravagant Kogashi Matsuri, where on one hand youngsters from different neighborhoods team up and compete to create the most over-the-top dashi, or ritual wagon, while on the other hand much more religious and conservative teams of older men and women uphold the traditional shrine omikoshi, carrying them around town. When the two festival cultures clash spectacularly on the streets of Atami during the jam packed festival it looks absolutely chaotic. To get out of the way of the dashi train (these are huge lumbering vehicles drawn by hundreds of townspeople with scores of teenagers banging and shouting strapped tight on top) and the oncoming throngs of omikoshi I entered a side street on a whim, which turned out to be the main street of the Atami Ginza (same name as the Ginza in Tokyo due to a shared history of minting) thinking I would be able to catch my breath. After less than a minute I turn around and see the most of the town omikoshi teams piling in behind me. Out the ash into the fire! I got these shots before being manhandled out of the way completely. You can tell that Atami is an old seaside resort – these people really know how to throw a proper summer festival!

I took these photos last year and in a few months it is time again. Don’t miss it!







2 Responses

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  1. Emma Reese said, on May 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Atami was deserted when I went with my daughter last March. I didn’t know it could get this lively!


    • tokyobling said, on May 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      March is the height of the off-season so I am not surprised! Like all smaller cities in Japan it has seen its glory days. But do not count them out! The beach is a stone’s throw from the city center and all the beautiful Tokyo women who moved there in the 1960s and 1980s has produced a large number of gorgeous kids!


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