Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tateyama Yawatanmachi (Awa Kokushisai) Festival.

Giant sign that reads "Awa Kokushisai," at Tsurugaya Hachiman Shrine.
So...I reaaaally love matsuri, or festivals. I can't quite put it into words why I love them so much! I've met a lot of Japanese people who are very "meh" about festivals, while there are others who are so crazy about them that the festival is bigger than any other annual event, like Christmas or New Years or birthdays.

This past weekend was my first time visiting the Yawatanmachi festival - officially called the Awa Kokushisai festival. A friend once told me「館山のお祭りは、とにかくすごいんだよ」= "Tateyama's festival is epic!"...and now I know why (as depicted in the video at the very end of ).

Anyway, allow me to share my love of festivals through a few more photos, as well as a video:

One of the few times of the year that this area is totally packed with people.
One of the stall things along this road was a haunted house...it was amusing to walk by and hear all the little kids screaming.
This is my lame attempt at trying to be artistic at capturing the mikoshi.
A slightly better shot of the mikoshi. I'm not sure what is going on here, but it looks like the mikoshi are all shoved towards the shrine multiple times. I wonder if it's some sort of prayer/ritual? I have to research more.
I also went to see the gathered dashi floats at JR Tateyama Station. The ground level was overflowing with people, but my friend and I were able to find this awesome balcony area you can look down on everything from.

And last but most certainly not least, the promised video of mikoshi footage! Watch, and be amazed by it's epicness.

They heave it from side to side! If you've never carried a mikoshi before, that might not mean so much, but these things tend to weigh 500-700 pounds. Maybe more. It is painful enough to carry it on your shoulder...imagine trying to heave it up and down like the people here. When it swings down, I can't understand how the people don't get horribly crushed under the sheer weight and pressure.

Next up on my matsuri schedule is the infamous Ohara Hadaka (yes "Naked") Festival!

Don't worry, the men aren't actually naked...They just wear cloth underwear/fundoshi, like what sumo wrestlers wear. I am still hoping to go, although Typhoon No. 15 seems rather set on ruining my plans.

Autumn is definitely omatsuri season!!!

1 comment:

  1. I really love the colors/lighting in your photos! It captures the atmosphere well, I think. <3 Matsuris!