Last weekend was the stylish (and quite tiny) Miraitoterasu festival at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine and on both the Friday that saw the torrential rains and the mild Sunday there was a display of Tetzutsu Hanabi, handheld fireworks. I wrote a little on the history and art of Tetzutsu fireworks in this blog, so please have look! The Yasukuni event had I think 100 bundles, quite large. One person waited to pick it up while the other one lit it. After a good fire had started it would be picked up and pointed to the sky before going out in a big bang and a final burst of fire directed downwards. Few festivals are as colorful, loud and smelly as this one!
At the annual Omiya Matsuri in Omiya City north of Tokyo, in Saitama Prefecture, I saw the splendid ladder acrobatics of the local team. The weather was perfect for ladder acrobatics and they had the whole square in front of Omiya station for themselves. Ladder Acrobatics is probably one of my favorite things to see in Japan, when it comes to traditional culture. It must take some special kind of courage and team work to pull this off!
This weekend sees several festivals take place all over Tokyo, not least the fairly massive Ikebukuro Matsuri. The main area of the festival is in the West exit area of the JR Ikebukuro Station, so it will be hard to miss it. Most of the actual parade ground will be closed to people not participating (those wearing a happi coat) but this means it is easy to find a good spot along the route and get a good look at the many omikohisi, lantern teams and even dancers or taiko drummers performing. After the main event is finished you can catch up with omikoshi and get a closer look here and there around the station. Not to be missed if you have some free time!
This year’s two day Awaodori festival in Shibuya Ward’s Hatsudai was just as great as usual. Lots of great dancers and a splendid effort from all the organizers and volunteers who helped pull it all off. Here are just a few of the snapshots I took during the first day of the festival. I will have time to properly go through the image some day in the far future when I am retired!
In these photos you will find the Hatsudairen (初台連), the Hachamecharen (波奴連), the Otoriren (鳳連), the Gorakuren (伍楽連) and the Susonoren (すそ野連).