“So how about decorating mikoshi shrine with vegetables and fruits?” – might be what a young priest in Kitano Tenmangu shrine answered to his superior back in 9th century, when being asked “Think something up to get people to our festival.”
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.
What I have found distinctive in Tenjin Matsuri, in Osaka, is its drummers’ performance. Despite colorful attire, the rhythm and chants are gloomy and dark. Like other similar activities, they originally were intended to fend off calamities and illnesses.
In the evening, the taiko drum, portable shrine mikoshi, and festival car danjiri are all placed on boats and take part a ship 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.
In a beautiful scenery of Arashiyama, a place in western Kyoto, a colorful festival takes place in the middle of May.
After religious ceremonies in Kurumazaki Jinja, the deity of the shrine is transferred to a boat. Then guests on other boats approach and pay homage. Musicians and artists in historical costumes from Heian period, perform dances and stage poetry competitions.