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.

Aug 012012
Sumiyoshi Matsuri in Osaka

Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of the most important Japanese shrines. Though nowadays it lies in the boundaries of Osaka city, historically it has been more connected to the city of Sakai.The name of the latter means “the border,” and comes from the meeting point of three provinces.

During Sumiyoshi Festival, participants cross another border. They ford the Yamato River carrying a portable shrine mikoshi on their shoulders.

Jul 242012
Gion Matsuri – Hanagasa Parade

Hana means “flower” in Japanese. Kasa means “an umbrella” but also a large straw hat, which protects from sun or rain.

In the Hanagasa Parade during the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, we can see both: large umbrellas and hats decorated with flowers. There is also a real treat for photographers and tourists – maiko – geisha apprentices all grouped together in a cart pulled by young men.