Tokyobling's Blog

Wall of Lanterns – Kanda Matsuri Parade

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 3, 2015

One of my favorite images in terms of pride, ritual, dignity, and tradition when it comes to the classic Japanese festivals (matsuri in Japanese) are the lantern bearers often found in front of the omikoshi. When several omikoshi team up for a parade, you get several of them lined up, forming a wall, each bearing a lantern with the name of the group or neighborhood they represent. When you have hundreds of them, as in last months massive 400 year anniversary Kanada Matsuri, you get serval opportunities to see these teams lined up and ready to go. At this festival the parades started early in the morning but the sheer size of the festival meant that most of them were not ready to even get close to the shrine until well into the evening. I took these photos near Akihabara station, as one group of omikoshi were waiting for their turn to approach the shrine. In between waiting, there was entertainment in the form of a lion dancer, performing for the kids and adults of the omikoshi teams.

At night the lantern groups look even more impressive. One day I’ll get around to posting photos of that too!

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Yakuonhachiman Shrine – Nara

Posted in Places by tokyobling on January 11, 2013

In the town of Yamato Koriyama in the western Nara prefecture I visited the Yakuonhachiman Shrine (薬園八幡神社) which was originally founded in the year 750 and then moved to its present location in 1491. I don’t know much of the history of this shrine, but it is a gorgeous shrine and right between the two stations of Koriyama making it a good spot to visit when sight seeing the area. It is very difficult to get good photos of Japanese traditional buildings and sites in most weathers, so I had to focus on details for this one. The ema, or votive plates of this shrine is also a little bit unusual. Many people who come here do so bless their newborn children, and many ema had photos of the babies! I don’t think I have seen that at any other shrines in Japan. The Yakuonhachiman also had a very impressive collection of lanterns, many many more than most other shrines. I would love to see their festivals!

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Odaiba Beach Lanterns

Posted in Places by tokyobling on August 2, 2010

Despite being a seaside town there are very few places where the average person can actually access the ocean in Tokyo (the Wikipedia page mistakenly narrow it down to two but I can think of a few more places). The whole of the waterfront is either covered in concrete or industrial areas and it’s quite possible to live an entire life here without ever seeing the water. Which is why I so often visit Odaiba, a huge man made island in the middle of Tokyo Bay with an excellent view of the Tokyo skyline. Odaiba is accessible by train or bus on bridges or by subway. In the summer there are events almost all days of the week and one of these was this lantern festival I attended a few weeks ago. The beach facing Tokyo (alas, no swimming allowed here) was covered in paper lanterns, quite a beautiful spectacle. If you have the chance to visit Tokyo, try to get at least half a day for Odaiba!






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