Tokyobling's Blog

Kurayami Matsuri 2013 – People

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 3, 2014

More photos from last year’s Kurayami Matsuri. It is going on right now and I wish I could be there and live blog it you know how modern life is – work, work and more work! As usual it is the people that make the festivals and there was no shortage of scenes and faces to photograph. All generations work together to create a great festival for the community and there is a job for anyone, no matter how young or how old.

If you are in Tokyo right now or until the 6th, I really recommend visiting Fuchu and the fantastic Kurayami Matsuri.

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Kurayami Matsuri – Hayashi 2013

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 2, 2014

Like I mentioned yesterday, if you are in Tokyo over the weekend I really recommend visiting the grand Fuchu festival taking place in Tokyo’s western Fuchu City, an easy trip on the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station. One of the great things about the festival are the many fantastic teams of Hayashi players and dancers. I saw this fantastic team made up only of children putting on a great show on the main tree lined boulevard of Fuchu City. Despite the old fashioned traditional masks they really come alive when portrayed by the children. I took these photos during the 2013 festival, and the weather seems to be as fantastic for this year’s festival as well!

A fair amount of foreign tourists visit this festival even though it is hardly being promoted at all by the various tourism boards and organizations of Japan, making it one of the more off-the-track events of the popular Golden Week holidays!

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Kurayami Matsuri – Mantou 2013

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 1, 2014

Yesterday was the start of one of the best festivals in Tokyo, the massive but surprisingly unknown Kurayami Matsuri in Tokyo’s western Fuchu City. The first day of the festival was obliterated by massive rains but this morning the rains stopped suddenly and the sun came out in full glory. Fittingly there was a ceremony this morning praying for the good weather and health of the festival. The festival continues until May 6th, and is one massive, relatively child friendly event sufficiently far removed from central Tokyo to make it not quite as crowded as other festivals held over the weekend.

I took these photos on the first main event day of the festival in 2013, which should give you an idea of what you have to look forward to. You can also find more posts about the festival by clicking on the tags at the bottom of the page. One of the main event of this festival is the mantou competition where the different neighborhood teams compete in building and dancing the massive mantou, sometimes weighing more than the dancers themselves! It is wonderfully spectacular!

Getting to Fuchu from central Tokyo is very easy, just take the Keio Line from Shinjuku, it is not very far at all.

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Kurayami Matsuri Kids and Colors

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on December 2, 2013

Today and tomorrow is the peak of the week long Chichibuyo Matsuri, or the the Chichibu Night Festival. It is hands down the best winter festival in the Kanto area and possibly the last great festival of the year. I would love to go there but scheduling conflicts will keep me firmly put here in Tokyo. Chichibu is located north west of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, and a little too far to go just for a couple of hours in the evening. If you have all day today or tomorrow I really recommend heading up there though! You can read my posts about last year’s festival over here. The best way to get from Tokyo to Chichibu is by trains leaving from Ikebukuro. There are several lines and different train options depending on your budget and it is a fantastic combination trip to see both the evening festival and the autumn leaves in nearby Nagatoro.

Another great festival that also started out as a night festival is the Kurayami Matsuri in Tokyo’s south-western Chufu City. This festival is famous for it’s massive drums that require a crew of over twenty to operate and move around. These drums are so large that two or more persons usually stand on top of them! I took these photos of the much smaller children’s drums, as well as a couple of shots of the other famous thing in the Kurayami festival, the large and colorful mantou which are spun by the largest and strongest dancers of the community. You can see my other posts about the Kurayami festival here.

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