Jan 102013
Toka Ebisu and Hoekago Parade in Osaka

Recipe: take some beauties and celebrities, promise good revenue this year, and you have crowds of people gathering from morning until the late night.

Such is Imamiya Toka Ebisu in Osaka—a festival of patron deity of merchants. Festival lasts few days around January 10th (“tooka” means actually “the tenth day”) and attracts huge crowds of people. They buy lucky charms for a new year and dispose last year’s charms for burning.

Sep 192012
Hair fashion at Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

During Danjiri Matsuri in Kishiwada, a peculiar fashion show takes place.

As participants in each group wear identical uniforms, girls try to stand out through their hairstyle and blue or black nails.

Tightly plaited hair form patterns and are decorated with colorful threads woven into.

Sep 192012
Pit stop at Danjiri Matsuri

A single danjiri float weighs 4-5 tonnes and runs over 70 km during the two-day festival. Its wheels rotate however in fixed direction, so taking turns requires dragging the cart sideways. And dynamic turns are the thing for which Kishiwada Festival is most famous for.

As a result, wheels which are made from wood need to be replaced every now and then. It might be done slowly during the break or in a F1 manner during the parade.

Sep 192012
Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada—an old castle town near Osaka—hosts one of the most impressive Japanese festivals.

Huge and elaborately decorated wooden carts are pulled through the streets. Each carries a loud orchestra and a person who performs an expressive dance on the roof.

But what really makes Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri special is the speed at which the floats are turned at at crossroads and corners.

Sep 192012
Entering the shrines with danjiri

During the festival in Kishiwada participants enter the shrines with danjiri floats.

There they receive blessing and ritual purification from the priests.

After the ceremony, the festival continues with danjiri being pulled all over the town.

Sep 182012
Yarimawashi – taking turns at Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is most famous for the way of taking turns at the crossroads. Just before a turn, massive wooden floats called danjiri are accelerated to the human running speed. Then, almost in an instant they are turned 90 degrees.

Floats that weigh up to 5 tonnes and taller than wider barely keep (and sometimes lose) balance.

Sep 102012
Futondaiko drum festival in Sakai (Hassaku Matsuri)

Huge, colorful platforms with drum typical for the city of Sakai, south of Osaka. They are called futondaiko and used during festivals.

During Hassaku Matsuri, early in September, participants carry the platforms on their shoulders through the city center, to the hypnotic beat of children orchestra.