Apr 152013
 
Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri - children kabuki theater

Kodomo kabuki (“children kabuki”) performances are the highlight of the festival in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. Every year on April 15th, children perform theatrical plays on movable stages.

Like in real kabuki theater, boys perform both male and female roles and like in real kabuki, they fully engage in their acting. They even have a loud claque applauding their appearances and poses.

Mar 012013
 
Sagicho Matsuri - fire festival in Omihachiman

Sagicho Matsuri in Omi-Hachiman City dates back to medieval times. It is said that Oda Nobunaga (a powerful warlord who ruled Japan in 16th century) enjoyed this festival himself.

It is one of the most crazy Japanese festivals requiring laborious preparations of the decorations only to burn them in one evening.

Sep 262012
 
Nuibosai - rice harvest festival in Taga Taisha

Three to four months after planting, rice plants yield crops.

In Taga Taisha first ears are taken by girls called nuibome in traditional dress. They give rice to the priests who take it to the shrine and put on the altar.

Rice picked up on this day will be used for Niinamesai ceremony performed by Emperor Akihito on 23rd of November.

Jun 062012
 
Otaue Matsuri – planting rice on a sacred field

When rice planting is coming to an end, just before the rainy season, ceremonies for abundant growth are held in major Japanese shrines.

One such colorful event takes place in Taga Taisha, close to Hikone in Shiga Prefecture. Without machines, accompanied by rituals of shinto priests and shamans, as well as performances of local artists, a sacred field belonging to a shrine is planted with rice.

May 072012
 
Shigaraki – the capital of tanuki

Shigaraki is a small village hidden in the mountains of southern Shiga Prefecture. Famous for its potters, Shigaraki was the place where the works on the Great Buddha of Nara had begun.

Nowadays it is a capital of tanuki—Japanese raccoon dogs—baked from famous Shigaraki clay and coming in never-ending variety of postures.

In May the town hosts a …shopping festival attracting crowds of tanuki lovers.