Tokyobling's Blog

More Kawagoe Matsuri – Shishinomai and Dashi

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 23, 2014

I can’t get enough of the Kawagoe Matsuri which took place over the last weekend and easily one of the most accesible of the big “dashi” festivals here in Kanto. The big wagons are pulled around the town by the townspeople of the neighborhoods they represent, making frequent stops to greet temporary festival platforms on the town main street. One of the frequent guests at these platforms are the Shishinomai, the lion mask dancers whose bite to your head is supposed to be a bessing and good luck ritual for your child. It is great fun to watch these local kids get their head bitten, some wailing in terror and others posing for the photographs, like this little boy.

The most dedicated locals and the ones with special tasks dress up in wonderfully complicated and colorful costumes. A little hard to see at night but they really look great, especially these two fellas who posed for me. One new thing in this year’s festival was the owner of a strategically located second floor room opened it up for photographers (for a fee of course) to come and get an unusual angle on the festivals.

Only one year to wait for the next festival now! Already looking forward to it!

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5 Responses

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  1. The Keeper of the Little Red Diary said, on October 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Wow! What dynamic images! Very Fresh!
    -Kaki

    Like

  2. Jonelle Patrick said, on October 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    These are so stunning, as always! I already knew how hard it was to capture the changing expressions and moods of the dashi puller/dancers/musicians, but now that I’ve been to Sawara and tried to take lovely, detailed, in-focus shots of dashi at night, I autterly bow down to you, for how easy you make it look!

    I quite wanted to go see the Kawagoe festival this year after being to Sawara, but couldn’t quite figure out the logistics. Do you stay there overnight, or is there a way to see the nighttime festivities, but still get back before all the last trains run out?

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on October 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you Jonelle! You are much too kind! (^-^) But it does take a lot of concentration and in this case also practice. Actually since most festivals end at 2100 (this one goes on longer but the main part is always over by 2100) there is plenty of time to go back to Tokyo (less than an hour almost everywhere in Tokyo) or even Yokohama, Funabashi or Takasaki (an hour and a half).

      Like

      • Jonelle Patrick said, on October 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        Many thanks for the excellent info – you’ve inspired me to try and make a pass at it next year for sure! ^^;;

        Like


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