Tokyobling's Blog

The Last Tsukiji Shishimatsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 28, 2015

Last month I hurried down to the famous Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market, probably found on almost every foreign tourist visiting Tokyo, to see the last Tsukiji Shishimatsuri taking place inside the old Fish Market ground. The fish market is scheduled to close in a few months, ending a decades long history as the main fresh fish market of the Japanese capital. Usually a quite minor festival, this one was a little bit special and it was wonderful to have had the chance to see the gates of the Fish Market open one last time for huge black toothed lion’s head, the priests, and the omikoshi (portable shrine) belonging to the local Jinja. More photos and stories from this festival to come!

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Enoshima Festival – Into the Ocean

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 23, 2015

The end of the Enoshima Shrine festival that I have been blogging about this week, comes when the Omikoshi is carried down into the ocean by lots of nearly naked men. Usually the omikoshi is taken as deeply as possible into the ocean but on this day there was a typhoon on its way to Japan so the waves were much fiercer than usual: every couple of minutes the level of the ocean would suddenly rise a meter or so, when the waves came through, making it far too dangerous to actually take the omikoshi into deeper water. It looked like the men carrying it were having great fun though, even in the not very deep water!

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Enoshima Shrine Festival – Through the Town

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 22, 2015

If you have ever been to Enoshima you know that the main street running through the little town is absolutely tiny, not even bicycles make it up it. So it was quite fun to see the big Omikoshi make its way down the stairs, through gates and under torii (the π shaped gates in front of shinto shrines) and finally down the main street, pushing tourists, shoppers and townspeople aside as it passed down towards the ocean. I was lucky enough to know a shortcut in a tiny alley to the side of the main street so I could hurry around the omikoshi and get a few photos of it as it emerged onto the plaza in front of the fist torii. More photos to come!

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Enoshima Shrine Festival – Yasaka Jinja

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 21, 2015

Enoshima, a small but tall and very rocky island on the south coast of Kanagawa prefecture south west of Tokyo has been a holy spot for a very long time. The first record of a shrine or temple on this island is from the year 552 A.D., which is when the present Shrines on the island counts as they having been founded. During the years a number of holy buildings and caves have been added to the island, all being headed under the name Enoshima Shrine, whose main building Hetsunomiya was erected in 1206, rebuilt in 1675 and renovated in 1976 and is famous for its undulating three waved roof.

A couple of weekends ago the shrine’s Yasaka Shrine (Yasaka Jinja) section celebrated its annual festival and I was there in the morning to see the Omikoshi dedication ceremony attended by many officials of the island the neighboring towns. The ceremony at the shrine was finished with a parade of shamisen players, drummers, singers and flutists, just before the omikoshi was handed over to the men of the town to be carried down to the ocean. More photos of this to come!

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