The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Fukagawa Matsuri, Tokyo

It's nice to see cultural traditions taking place in such a big city like Tokyo. Our area held a matsuri (festival) last weekend, and while it wasn't as crazy as the ones we experienced in the countryside of Noto (eg Wajima Taisai and the unforgettable Ushitsu Abare Matsuri aka Fire & Violence Festival), there were a lot of people participating with plenty of energy and vigor.

This particular matsuri is called Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri, held only once every 3 years and is one of the Big Three in Tokyo. Unfortunately we didn't know about this matsuri and had already made plans for the weekend so we couldn't participate actively in it like we did in the Noto matsuris. But, we did get to watch a small part of the omikoshi (portable shrine) procession on the street from our 10th-floor apartment. I was surprised by the numbers representing each mikoshi, and there were more than 50 mikoshi in total! Apparently this matsuri has more than 30,000 participants and draws over half a million spectators. There were lots of water thrown onto the people carrying the mikoshi eventhough it was an unusually (but blissfully) cool summer day.

The people stuck in traffic due to road blocks weren't very happy people. Thankfully, it was Sunday so there were less traffic on the roads than during the week.

There were so many mikoshi, and lots of people - but here are a few shots of some:

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