Monday, December 31, 2018

Osaka Sayama Winter Illumination 2018


Cherry Blossom Festival... in winter.

12/01/2018 - 1/14/2019. Near Osakayamashi station.

The Sayamaike pond is a reservoir created by a dam from a civil engineering project in the year 1400, making it the oldest reservoir in Japan. The reservoir was used to irrigate a large area in the southern part of Osaka prefecture. Now there is a museum next to the reservoir which illustrated the history of the dam, the local irrigation systems, local history and more.

The northern edge of the pond has a row of cherry trees that are a popular attraction in the spring.
The city is double-dipping into the cherry blossom draw to attract people in the winter by covering the trees in pink LEDs to created a nighttime display of a winter cherry blossom festival.

The following photo journal is from 12/25/2018:

A small attraction so a large percentage of the people attending are local families.

Low brightness photo to make the lights seem disembodied.

A full moon in the background.

 flanked by snowmen (the Japanese kind; two segments and a little Shriner's cap).
The entire event viewed from a different side of the pond.

Sayarin, a cherry blossom dragon that represents Osaka Sayama.



Saturday, December 29, 2018

Kobe Illuminage 2018


11/3/2018-2/11/2019, 17:00-21:30.
The Kobe Fruit & Flower Park will be hosting an illumination event organized by the Illuminage Group (the same company organizing the illumination events at Abeno and Osaka Castle this winter).
Entry costs 1200 yen and there is a special shuttle bus that takes visitors to/from JR Sanda station.

The display is similar to the animal themes seen at Abeno but the highlight of the Kobe Illuminage is a 50m wide light maze.

The Kobe Fruit & Flower Park is next to small amusement park and entry to the Fruit & Flower Garden also lets visitors access the Monkey Theater where there a trained monkey performances (a common sight for street performances in Kansai but it is new to see them in a purpose built theater).

The following photo journal is from 12/29/2018:

A mother and child elephant surrounded by lionesses.
Kangaroos and camels.


Another shot of the zebras using lower brightness and a snow cross filter.

The move decorations are recurring but they seem out of place for the wintry theme.
A large courtyard covered in lights.

Outlines of dogs in different poses.

A menagerie of African mammals.

Dolphins reflected in a pond.
Similar to the ATC decorations.

Penguins on one island and geese on the next.




A castle

An arched gateway reflected in a fountain pool.

A photo framed by an archway.

Reindeer posed near a large reflecting pool.

Inside the monkey theater there is a show with a mix of magic, showmanship and anumal acrobatics.

A vending machine outside of the monkey theater.

A tiny village of lights.

A recreation of the hotel that is next to the park.

The courtyard in front of the hotel has many light trees.

Lights lining the path to the hotel.

There is a cafe in the hotel that visitors can go to.

Inside the light maze.

A 50m maze of lights.

Visitors passing in front of the lights.
More mouth designs.

Wine glass lights.
Lights reflecting in a pool in the park.

Peacock feather decorations at the park entrance.

Lights like a starry sky.
The hotel framed head-on.

An off-side shot.
A wide-angle shot from the entrance

A chorus of bears.
A circular pond.

Rings of trees around the circular maze.

iPhone shot with a fisheye lens.

Decorations at a nearby outlet mall.

Balloon-like LED orbs.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

January 2019

1月 2019

New Years Ceremonies

11/3-2/11. Kobe Illuminage at the Fruit & Flower Park near Niro station.

11/16-1/14. MC Escher exhibit at the Abeno Harukasu Museum. 1500 yen.

11/30-2/17. -20:30. Umie ice-skating rink. 1200 yen.

12/1-3/3. Osaka Castle Illumination. 1200 yen.

12/1-3/3. Time Travel Fantasy illumination event at Hirakata Park
12/22-1/20. Ultra-Man Festival at Hirakata Park. 1400 yen admission fee.

12/3-1/31. 17:00-20:00. Christmas Tree at the Chikko Red Brick Warehouse.

12/15/2018-2/17/2019. 10:00-20:00. Marvel Age of Heroes Exhibition at Grand Front. 1500 yen.

Throughout January. Penguin parades in the area outside of Kaiyukan aquarium. Near Osakako station.

Fridays there will be 500 yen takoyaki parties at the Sakura Guest house near Temma station.

On weekends from 11:00-16:00 there will be opportunities for groups to participate in a katana workshop at Yushinkan. Near Keihan Noe or Kyobashi station. 5000 yen.

12/22-3/26. The Legendary Swords exhibition at Kasugataisha Museum. 500 yen.

1/1-6, 12-14. 10:00-16:00. Play-rail (toy train company) exhibit at ATC Hall. 800-900 yen. Near Trade Center Mae.

1/4. 13:30. New Year's first Kemari (ball kicking game) ceremony at Shimogamo shrine near Demachiyanagi station.

1/1-8. Play-Rail show in Osaka. At ATC. 900 yen for adults, 700 yen for kids. Near Trade Center Mae station.

1/1-8. New Year's event at Tennoji Zoo. Entry for 500 yen.

1/1. 06:30-08:00. Kyoto Tower first sunrise event.

1/1. Kobe Port Tower first sunrise event. Near Motomachi station.

1/2. 10:00-14:00. Kitano Tenmangu shrine will have a new year's karuta game near Sannomiya station.

1/2-3. 10:00-13:00. Mochi pounding event at Mizuma Temple in Osaka. Near Mizuma Kannon station.

1/3. ?. Archery event in Otsu.

1/3. 13:00. Karuta card game ceremony at Yasaka shrine in Kyoto. Near Gion Shijo station.

1/3. 11:00. Noh performance of the play "Okina." At Taga shrine near Tagataisha-mae station. Free.

1/3. 10:00-11:00. Shimenawa-age Ritual. Hanging straw ropes on the torii gates. At Kumata Shrine near Hirano station.

1/4. 13:00-15:00. Oyumi hajimesai archery ceremony at Ooyamato Shrine. Near Nagara station.

1/4. 13:30~. New Year's Kemari game at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto. Near Demachiyanagi station.

1/6. 09:00. Karuta Matsuri at Omi Jingu shrine near Omi Jingu-Mae station.

Dezome Shiki: firefighter demonstrations around Japan that show off modern firefighting equipment or ancient methods.
1/6. Dezome Shiki at O's Mall near Trade Center Mae station.
1/10. Dezome Shiki at Himeji Castle
1/13. 10:00-. Near Higashiyama station.
1/13. 10:00. Higashi Osaka Dezome Shiki at Hanazono Central Park.
1/7. 11:00~. White Horse ceremony at Sumiyoshi Shrine.

1/7. 10:00~13:00. White Horse ceremony at Kamigamo Shrine.

1/7-8,20-21. CosJoy at ATC. ATC gathering near Trade Center Mae station.

Toka Ebisu: Festivals at the shrines for Ebisu, the god of wealth, happiness fishermen and commerce. These events happen around the 10th day of the new year.

1/12-14. 10:00-16:30. Railroad Fair 2019. 800 yen. At Osaka Business Park.

1/13. 10:30-. Archery ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha.

1/14. 14:30-15:30. Doya Doya loincloth ceremony at Shitennoji Temple. Near Yuhigaoka-Shitennoji-mae station.

1/14. 19:30~. Osaka Tondo Matsuri. Bonfire ceremony at Senri Tenjin shrine near Senri Chuo station.

1/13. 10:00~. Oyumi Hajime Sai, New Year's archery event at Sumiyoshi Taisha.

1/12. 19:00~21:00. Katsube fire festival. Young men in loin clothes dance around a fire. Near Moriyama station.

1/14. Comic City. Market for manga artists and handmade goods. There will be some people in costumes. At INTEX near Nakafuto station.

1/14. 13:00-22:00. After Sunset is the Oni Hashiri, ogres with torches. Nenbutsuji temple in Nara.

1/13. Every year on the Sunday before Coming-of-Age Day. 10:00-15:00. Toshiya, New year's archery ceremony at Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto.

1/15. 10:00~. Uzue Festival at Itakiso Shrine near Wakayama station.

1/15. Tondo Matsuri bonfire event at Yasaka-Ebisu shrine near Tamatsukuri station.

1/15. 08:00-16:30. Otondo, charm burning event at Oomiwa Shrine, near Miwa station.

1/15-19. 08:00-17:00. Yakuyoketaisai bonfire ceremony at Ishikiyomizu Yasaka Shrine.

1/16. 10:30~.  Musha Shinji archery ceremony at Kamigamo Shrine.

1/20. 14:00. Yutate Kagura Ceremony at Jonan-gu shrine. Near Takeda station.

1/21. Comic Treasure. Market for manga artists. At INTEX near Nakafuto station.

1/21. 08:00-12:00. Namba Tsunahiki ritual. A ritual where a huge rope snake is paraded around on the streets. The Namba Yasaka shrine is shaked liked a huge komainu head. At Namba Yasaka shrine near Namba station.

1/25. Hatsu Tenjin Festival. At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto, near Marumachi station.

1/27. After sunset. Wakakusa yamayaki. Field burning, fireworks and stage performances around Mt.Wakakusa in Nara. Near Kintetsu Nara station.

1/26, 11:00-19:00. 1/27, 11:00-18:00. Otateyama Festival. Parade of illuminated fiberglass statues in front of the Heijokyo palace with stage performances. Near Yamato-Saidaiji station.

1/26. 18:15-. Wakakusa mountain burning ceremony. Near Nara station. Can also be seen from the Otateyama festival site.

1/26-2./2. 17:00-20:00. Miyama night lightup; Snow Lanterns. By bus from Kyoto station for 3400 yen.

1/26-3/17. Haniwa Daikoushin exhibit of Nagahara archaeological ruins at the Osaka Museum of History, near Tanimachi 4-chome station.  1000 yen.

1/28. Martial Arts Fair at Sumiyoshi Budokan.

Illuminations, Christmas lights and light-ups

10/28-1/8. Kyoto Illumiere. A 75 minute bus ride from Osaka or Kyoto in a remote onsen area outside Kameoka. 1000 yen.

11/1-1/31. Kitano Christmas Street. Illumination event. Near Sannomiya station.

11/17-3/04. Kaiyukan Illumination.

11/17-2/14. Osaka Station Twilight Fantasy. Lights and music in the area above the JR Osaka station train tracks.

11/18-1/14. Denmark & Japan 150 years. Christmas lights at Kiseki no Hoshi. Bus from JR Sannomiya station to the location. 600 yen.

11/22-2/25. Osaka Castle Park Illumination event. Illuminage. 1200 yen.

December-February. White Promenade at Shirahama beach.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Laughing Ritual 2018; Part 2


Laughing Ritual 2018; Part 2

After the main part of Hiraoka's shrine laughter ritual there are a number of performances arranged by various groups. These performances include a wide variety of types from traditional to modern, and comical to reverent with all of them mixing together.

Below is a photo journal from 12/23/2018, dividing the photos into groups:

Sentai Show

These types of masked hero shows are similar to the Power Rangers series, which became popular in the 90's after being adapted from a Japanese source.
The performer group at the Laughing Ritual is the same from last year; a group of high school students with the same villain, choreography and musical dance number. The masked actors deliver pulled punches kicks and chops synchronized to pre-recorded dialog, sound effects and music.

Similar to the Super Sentai (Power Rangers) performances that are popular for entertaining children.
Super heroes perform acrobatics and dances while fighting against costumed monsters.

The villain here is a decayed tooth and the fighters are assisted by a dentist panda.

Masked Dancers

A group performs a traditional dance while wearing typical masks; foxes,

A fox (perhaps a dog?). Kitsune masks are a popular festival item.

An old man ( woman?) with a broom.
There are many types of masks are called "okame" referring to the wife of Hyotoko, they are distorted human faces that are meant to represent good fortune.

The mask of Hyotoko (the fire boy)

A fox

Around Hiraoka Shrine

Temporary tents set up around the shrine sell charms and drink while offering a place for visitors to sit down, or for performers to warm up and store their instruments or change costumes.

An inner courtyard to the shrine where several smaller shrines are closed in representing several gods.
Note the imperial crests 

Ema representing the dog, the junishi (zodiac animal) from the 2018, and a daruma, representing pursuit of a goal.

A small bridge on the shrine grounds, labeled as "Tastumi-bashi," which has a nice scattering of Japanese maple leaves.

Colorful leaves around a lantern.

Boars, representing the new year of 2019.
Another shot around the wooden lantern post.

The main sanctuary of the shrine with sunlight coming through the yellow leaves.


A theatrical sword fighting show with comical twists.

The comedy with this group plays around the arrogant and clumsy sword master.

Mixing the serious and silly.

Laughing Clowns

Lots of makeup and ornamentation.

Wigs and jovial encouragements for laughter.

The kagura dance of the sun goddess, Amaterasu

The final part of the ritual events is a theatrical display on the steep stairs to the shrine sanctuary.
As the sun sets and chairs are set out for the audience, torches are lit and the shrine priest introduces the final performance with another round of the formal "crow's laugh." This summons a dancer who performs at the inner torii gate in front of the shrine stairs (which is covered with a curtain.
The dancer represents Ame-no-Uzume, the goddess of the dawn, who dances to entice the sun goddess, Amaterasu, out of hiding in her cave.

Torches are lit and shrine staff try to sell the ritual charms, which look like a Japanese flag on a stick.

Ame no Uzume

Ame no Uzume, the goddess of the dawn, mirth and revelry.

Ame no Uzume

Ame no Uzume celebrating joy and mirth.

Amaterasu symbolically emerging from her cave to bring light back to the world.
Celebrated appropriately enough on (approximately) the shortest day of the year.