Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Namba Night Photos

Some Random Night Photograph in Namba

The following photos were taken in July after the Soemon-cho Summer Festival.


Reflections on water.

Person on the street making a funny face.

Using a circular polarization filter to eliminate the reflection of the octopus lantern in the window.

Osaka Expo 2025 promotion.

The walkway between the subway and JR Namba station.

Fushimi Inari Motomiya


In July, during Gion Matsuri,Fushimi Inari has a special event in which lanterns are used to illuminate the torii gates in the area.

This event is a particularly popular night to visit the shrine which is already considered the most popular destination for tourists in Japan.

The main gate leading to the shrine.

Many people get dressed up in yukata.

Rows and lanterns and red color everywhere.

A bon dance stage with a guest performance by Okinawa style Esa dancers/drummers.

Nice light here.

Moon over the main shrine building (honden).

Shinme, a god horse statue.

Painted lantern boxes and fox-shaped ema plates behind a person wearing a yukata.

Lanterns and moonlight
Girls wearing yukata and fox masks waiting for a train.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Kisaichi Amanogawa Tanabata Matsuri


A lotus blossom from the local botanical garden.

A man lifting up his child among the tanabata streamers (fukinagashi).

*Father soobbing*: "Why can this family never take a nice photo?"

The bridge to the botanical garden is covered with decorations.

Traditional Tanabata decorations (fukinagashi) and people wearing summer outfits (yukata and jimbei).

This bridge is a good place for these girls to view the festival.

A shooting star design.

Preparing lanterns so they seem to float in the air over this stream.

Bamboo pinwheels.

These lanterns are covered with various artistic designs. 

A Bart Simpson wind chime.

Glass jars with various paper designs.

A colorful paper design that is backlit by candles. The art style seems like something from Chinese mythology.

Playing with a light toy.

A coin dropping game using an aquarium and some cups.

An array of cut bamboo lanterns.

Star designs cut into bamboo and a bamboo sphere holding tanzaku stripes.

Designs made by drilling holes into the bamboo

LED light toys provide a contrasting color against the amber of the candles.

Lantern depicting the lovers of the Tanabata story.

Lanterns over the water.

A wider shot

Using a star-cross filter.

Bamboo lanterns.

The bridge at night. Lit by portable, battery powered flood lights.

Tall trees in the botanical garden


Floral design of Thomas the Train. The train line to Kisaichi has trains covered with Thomas-themed art.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

August 2018; Upcoming Kansai Events

7/13-9/2. 10:00-20:00. Learn & Play! Teamlab Future Park at Abeno Harukasu Art Museum. 1200yen

8/17-9/2. 18:30-21:30. Shimogamo Shrine Tadasu no Mori Light Festival by Teamlab. 1200 yen.

8/1-18. 09:09-21:30. Kodaiji Summer night opening and light-up.

8/1 and 8/15. After sunset. Himuro shrine ice lanterns. Near Kintetsu Nara station. Shaved ice will be be sold in the shrine office. Kookentou (ice lantern) will be on display at night. Also on the 15th this month.

8/1. PL Fireworks. The first day of August each year. Near Tondabayashi station.

8/1. 11AM. Saitobi divers. Monks jump off of a pole from a Lake Biwa cliffside. Near Omi Hachiman station in Shiga prefecture. Isakiji temple.

7/30-8/1. Sumiyoshi Matsuri. Sumiyoshi Shrine in Osaka.

7/29, 8/4-5. Odorunya Yosakoi Festival. Near Wakayam station.
8/4-5. 11:00-21:30. Kishu Yosakoi Festival Wakayama station.

8/1. 17:45-20:30. Hikone fireworks.

8/3-5. 17:00-22:30. Ikuta Summer Sea Festival. Ikuta Shrine. Near Sannomiya station.

8/3-5. Manto Festival. Lanterns decorate the shrine at Taga Shrine. Near Tagataisha-mae station in Hikone city, Shiga.

8/4. Minatou Kobe Seaside Fireworks. Near Sannomiya station.

8/4. 19:00-20:30. Torchlight kagari bugakku (court music dance). At Shitennoji temple. Near Shitennoji-Yuhigaoka station.

8/4-5. First weekend in August. Grand Yokkaichi Festival. Near Yokkaichi station in Mie prefecture.

8/4-5, 11-16, 18-19. Eigamura Night Matsuri.

8/5-8/14. Nara Tokae. A huge outdoor lantern event in Nara Park. Organizers are often in search of volunteers to help with this event.

Kyo no Tanabata 8/4-16


  • 8/4-12. 梅小路 Umekoji park light up.
  • 2-14. Nijo Castle
  • 8/5-10. 7-9:30p. Kamogawa river light art.
  • 8/5-10. 7-9:30p. Horikawa, canal side lights and art.
  • 8/5-16. Until 9pm. Kitano Tenmangu. Shrine light up. The garden is especially nice
  • 8/11-13. 7p-9p. Okazaki Park and Heian Shrine light up, food fair and music offerings.

8/7. Omiwa Tanabata.

8/7. 7a-9:30a. Cleaning of the great Buddha Statue at Todaiji temple in Nara.

8/3-5. World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya. Parade. Near Osu Kanon on the first day. Around Sakae station and Oasis 21 on the second day.

8/7-10. 09:00-22:00. Kyoto Go-zaka Pottery Matsuri. Along Gojo-dori street near Kiyomizu-Gojo station.

8/8. Lake Biwa Great Fireworks Show. 7:30-8:30p.

8/9-1/27. Taito Space Invaders exhibit at Yodobashi Camera near Osaka Station.

8/10. 17:30-21:00. Hikone Bayashi obon dance.

8/10. Ice Festival at Abeno Q's Mall.

8/10-11. Hozenji Yokocho. Near Namba station. Festival starts with the cracking of a sake barreel. There are bunrakku puppets. Jazz music.

8/11. 17:00-21:00. Bamboo lanterns at Itakiso shrine in Wakayama.

8/11-?. Kobe Harborland Splash Fantasy. Night illumination of fountains.

8/11-15. Akame 48 Waterfalls lightup.

8/11-12. 10:00-17:15. Rescue Robot Challenge Kobe Sanpo Hall.

8/11-16. Shimogamo Antique Book Fair.

8/12. 17:30-20:30. Takigi Noh. Torchlight theatrical noh performance at Ikutama shrine near Tanimachi 9chome station. 3500 yen.
8/12-13. Kobe Port Festival at the Sumiyoshi Park grounds. Near Sumiyoshi station (Hyogo Prefecture).

8/13-15. Tomida Summer Festival.

8/16. Kibukawa Summer Festival.

8/19-20. Kobe Seaside bon odori. Near Motomachi Station.

8/19-20. 14:30~. Osaka Tenmangu Awa odori dancers.

8/14-16, 24-25. 19:30?~.. Fukuchiyama Dokkoise Matsuri.

8/14-16. Special night opening of Kiyomizudera Temple with a special viewing of Buddhist statues inside the main temple.

8/13. 6-8p. Sky lanterns. Uji Park, Kyoto Prefecture.

8/15. 7p-10p. Mantoukuyou-e. 2,500 lanterns will illuminate Todaiji temple. Near Kintetsu Nara station.

8/15. After sunset. Kasuga Shrine Daimonji hillside bonfire. Near Kintetsu Nara station.

8/15-16. Dekansho Obon Dance Festival at the Sasayama Castle Ruins. 3p-9p. Near Sasayamaguchi station.

8/16. 20:00-20:20. Gozan Okuribi- Five Mountain bonfire for Obon in Kyoto.

8/16. Around sunset. Floating obon candles. Near Arashiyama station.

8/16. Dainenbutsuji temple will have a an obon ceremony with many candles. Near Hirano station.

8/17. 17:00-21:30. Senkousai. Portable shrine boat parade. From Takebe taisha shrine in Otsu city. Karahashi-mae station.

8/17. Boat ceremony in Shiga.

8/18. 太閤祭. Martial Arts ritual at a shrine desicated to Toyoti Hideyoshi at Osaka Castle.

8/19. Fukuchiyama Kunoichi Festival.

8/18. After sunset. Inagawa fireworks. Near Ikeda station.

8/18. 18:00-20:45. Kobe Seaside Festival obon. At Meriken Park near Motomachi Station.

8/20. Sakai Sky Lanterns. Summer Smile Impact festival at Ohama Park.

8/18. 19:32-20:20.  Inagawa firework festival. 20 minute walk from Ikeda station.

8/19. 10:30-15:00. Super Comic City.

8/22-26. Minatogawa Shrine Summer Festival. Near JR Kobe station.

8/22-26. Nankousan summer festival. Lanterns and bon dance.

8/24-25?. Kita Mido bon dance. Near Honmachi station.

8/22-26. Nankousan Summer Festival. Near Kobe station.

Around 8/22. Manto kuyo candles for stone Buddhas. Injoji temple near Notogawa station in Shiga prefecture.

8/23-23. Sento Memorial Service at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji temple. 8000 statues and grave stones illuminated by candles.

8/23-24. 5-9p. Candle event at Gangoji Temple in Nara.

8/23-24. Jizo Bon at Isshin ji. Kids events and a marionette play. 4pm near Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka station.

8/23-24. Bon dance. Jokoji temple near Yao station (Yamatoji JR line).

8/24. Around sunset. Gangara Fire Festival. Near Ikeda station.

8/25. Akashi Castle Park Festival.

8/25. 18:00. InterNations international party at the Blarney Stone near Shinsaibashi station.

8/25-26. 10:00-16:00. Porsche Vintage Car Fair. At INTEX, near Trade Center Mae Station.

8/26. Minibike championships in Ikoma.
Sportsland Ikoma. Kids moto mini bike race.

8/27. 6:30p. Atago Fire Festival near JR Toyooka station.

8/25-27. 4 p-9p. Tenpyo Tanabata at Heijo Kyo. Near Yamato Saidaiji station.

8/25-26. Nara Basara- a team dance event.

8/25-26. 2p-4p. Hirakata Matsuri parade.

8/26. 11a-9:30p. Akashi Castle Park festival. Monkey show and bon dance.

8/25-26. Beef summit 2018. Biwako Hama-Otsu station.

8/26. Emperor Saga Festival. Last Sunday in August. Kids sumo tournament at Umenomiya shrine near Matsuo Taisha station.

8/27-28(?). Asuka Hikari no Kairo (corridor of light. Between Oka station and Ishibutai Kofun.

First Sunday in August. Ishitori festival. The noisiest festival in Japan. Everyone rings bells and bangs drums. Near Kuwana station in Mie.


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Firewalking at a mountaintop temple

Tanukidanisan Fudoin

After Gion Matsuri a temple in Kyoto offers a service in which visitors can purify themselves by walking over a fire.
Tanukidanisan Fudoin temple is a Buddhist Temple on Tanukidanisan (Raccoon-dog Valley Mountain).
For the ceremony a group of yamabushi (mountain ascetic monks, associated with Shingon Buddhism) burn a heap of tree branches then spread the smolding cinders over the ground. Once the fire is prepared a yamabushi opens the ceremony by cutting a sacred rope that closes off the space with a dagger walks across and cuts the rope on the opposite side. The monks cross first, then junior monks are escorted across then the field is open up for the public to participate.

Visitors pay 500 yen and receive a talisman, they held at the entrance and giving a signal push on the back to begin walking across the fire, then stand on a pile of purifying salt and receive a purifying gesture from a monk who shakes a bell over their heads.

Photo journal from 7/28/2018:

A collection of tanuki statues at the entrance to Tanukidanisan 

Steep stairs at the entrance to the temple.

Lanterns light the stairs. Most of them are traditional candles but some further away from the temple are LEDs.

A long line of people waiting to walk across.

Yamabushi tending the fire
Cutting the shimenawa rope with a dagger.

Walking across the smoldering ashes

A TV cameraman carrying his shoulder-mounted camera across with him.
Signs asks most people to not carry camera and take photos while theu are crossing.

Yamabushi inside a ring of sacred ropes.

Feet to the flames.

The yamabushi would let most people walk alone but they accompanied older people and women who were carrying small children.