Sunday, September 30, 2018

Otsu Matsuri


The Otsu Festival is an annual event held in the city of Otsu, near Kyoto.
The festival is held on the Sunday before Sports Day (2nd Monday of October).
The main part of the festival is a parade which involved 13 large parade floats (dashi 山車)which are pulled through various neighborhoods in the lakeside city.

The dashi (a broad umbrella term for pulled parade floats, including danjiri) are large two-story carts pulled by large teams of people. This type of dashi is called a "hikiyama" and is quite similar the yamahoko floats of Kyoto's Aoi Matsuri. Like the yamahoko of Kyoto, the hikiyama of Otsu are flanked with large tapestries. The tapestries of the hikiyama in Otsu tend to have eastern themes, while most of the tapestries in Aoi Matsuri are European in origin or theme (but there are some European style scenes on the Otsu tapestries).

Before the main festival there is smaller parade which the floats are assembled and then pulled through the neighborhoods as a type of practice run, with limited festivities outside of the hikiyama.
The ending festival when the hikiyama are paraded for a second time before being disassembled is the larger festival.

This parade initiates the festival and there are some special events that were held next to the local train station (JR Otsu); such as taiko drummers, street performers, musicians...

The following photo journal is from 2016:

The hikiyama can carry many passengers. The people in the hikiyama (mostly kids) ring bells, chant and play flutes.

It looks like they are play a "nokan" flute (transverse flute with 7 finger holes)?

Most of the people are wearing traditional clothing.

An elaborate work of carving on the hikiyama.
Note the oni-awara style roof ornament.

The Genjiyama hikiyama float from the Chukyo-machi neighborhood.
The tapestries of the hikiyama in Otsu tend to have eastern themes, while most of the tapestries in Aoi Matsuri are European in origin or theme. There are some European style scenes on the Otsu tapestries; notably the Gekkyudenzan float.

A scene of gods from Chinese mythology; note the items they carry and their companion animals which give hints to their identities.

The shutter for an eel (unagi) restaurant. The shutter seems to references a myth that I am unfamiliar with.
Does anyone know this story? Is it a parody of the "gratitude of the crane" story?

A hikiyama (without the tapestries) being pulled through a shopping arcade.

The flute players are making themselves very visible.
Note the gilded carvings

Note the special balcony the building  which is used for boarding the hikiyama.

Note the row of chimes painted red that look like torii gates

Most of the volunteering pulling the hikiyama here do not have special costumes.

This hikiyama has an unusually open carriage area.

The Saigyoyama team (?). During the main parade there are more ornaments and tapestries.

A nice line of people on a major street.

Two hikiyama crossing paths.

An itasha taxi; with a Chihayafuru theme

Chihayafuru itasha taxi.

Nankin Tamasudare performers. Making a roof here.

Nankin Tamasudare performers making a Buddha's halo.

A taiko drum group.

Kobe Alive 2016

Kobe Alive 2016

The Kobe Alive festival is a yosakoi (team dance) event that is held around the third weekend of September.

The event has been held in different large venues. For 2018 the event was held at Meriken Park (near Motomachi station).

The following photo journal is from September 2016, when the event was held at Arata Park near Minatogawa station:

Face paint is a common part of yosakoi costumes.

Team coordinated outfits.

This team had a martial arts theme with ronin inspired costumes.

Lanterns as props.

Colored parasols and large banners.

Teams lined up for a pose.

Teams are divided into segments with different costumes.

Segmented tabi boots are typical for yosakoi.

As the sun sets teams continue to perform in the park with brightly colored parasols.

The end of the performing day.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Danjiri in Amagasaki; Night 2


Amagasaki Danjiri Festival for Hatsushimadai Shrine

LED masks and batons.

The Danjiri have portable generators or batteries for the lights.

Three danjiri gathered together in a park near Hatsushimdai shrine.

Two danjiri and positioned face to face as their crews make noise.
Note the moon in the sky.

You can see a parade scene, with a horse, carved into the side of the danjiri here

The danjiri being tilted nose-down.

A shi-kami figure.

Kids riding the danjiri.

Danjiri rolling down the street past a convenience store.

Two danjiri rolling down the street.

The Minami-Hama team. Note the two types of Japanese flags.

Several danjiri visible on the longest stretch of the parade route.

Passing under a gate of lanterns.

Several danjiri visible as they roll down the street.

Note the broken arm of the danjiri being carried on the man's shoulder.
Earlier in the night, part of the gathering involves two danjiri being smashing together to form an inverted V, that is when the timber smashed.

A show of teamwork as the danjiri is lifted nose-up.

A horseback samurai.
Note the fur cover on the scabbard of the sword.
Also note the circular kamon crest on the samurai's chest indicating the (unidentified?) clan.

A samurai lifting another warrior up over his head.
The kamon crest indicates a member of the Imadegawa clan (but I am unfamiliar with the specific tale).

A danjiri parked in its garage.

The HonIchi team making a raucous display in their garage.
Just before this shot they were carrying someone on a ladder which flipped over and dropped a young man on the ground. 

Leftover salt from the purification ritual at the shrine.