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As part of the annual Nagahama Shusse Matsuri festival held on the second Sat. of Oct., a matchlock gun demonstration (長浜火縄銃大会) is held at Nagahama Castle during 13:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Nagahama Castle is near JR Nagahama Station (West side) on the Hokuriku Line. Short ride from JR Maibara Station.
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Three matchlock gun battalions to shoot their guns (blanks of course). The battalions are from Tanegashima (Kagoshima), Sakai (Osaka), and Hikone (Shiga). Japan has a number of matchlock gun battalions who are licensed to possess and fire these guns to preserve their history and perform at events and festivals.
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This battalion was from Tanegashima island in Kagoshima Prefecture (Kyushu). That's where guns were first introduced to Japan from Europe in 1543 and forever changed warfare in Japan.
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Taking aim and ready to fire...
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BANG!!! The guns were extremely loud. Makes you jump.
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They were going to take turns and keep shooting for about 90 min. I can handle these loud bangs once or twice, but no more. So I left this event early right after seeing/hearing/photographing this first battalion fire their guns. I didn't want to risk any damage to my ear drums. I wonder how these gunners protect their hearing.
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Nagahama also holds an outdoor kimono garden party in the afternoon with several hundred young women in kimono descending on this provincial city. (長浜きもの大園遊会)The kimono women first had to register at Ekimachi Terrace in front of JR Nagahama Station (West side) on the Hokuriku Line. Short ride from JR Maibara Station.
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Women in furisode kimono who visit the city for this kimono party are eligible to win prizes in a drawing held at Daitsuji Temple in the afternoon.Furisode kimono are kimono with long sleeves going down below the knees. They are worn by single women. Married women wear kimono with shorter sleeves. And so most of the kimono women are in their teens to 30s.
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The kimono women first had to register at Ekimachi Terrace where they receive a lottery number for the grand prize drawing. Photographers also had to register here and get a permission tag to photograph the women.The grand prize is a free trip for two to Hawaii.
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The event attracts a lot of photographers who like to photograph women in kimono. Many of the women are also willing to pose if you ask them.
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At the Hikiyama Museum, stage entertainment.
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At the Hikiyama Museum, stage entertainment schedule (in 2017).
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Hikiyama float was also displayed near the museum.
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The woman might even bring a prop like a red umbrella. Nagahama, Shiga.
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Most of them come with friends or with their mother. Nagahama, Shiga.
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Path to Daitsuji Temple was full of kimono ladies for the Nagahama Kimono Garden Party in Shiga.
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Nagahama has a nice photogenic area with traditional buildings where the women could stroll, hang out, and pose for photos. This path leads to Daitsuji temple where the prize drawing would be held.
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It's almost like Coming-of-Age Day in mid-January when 20-year-olds wear kimono to the official ceremony. But these women can be older than 20. I believe most of them are from Shiga, but a good number are also from nearby prefectures like Gifu, Aichi, and Kyoto. A few were foreigners, probably local English teachers. Nagahama, Shiga.
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This woman was nice because she had a traditional Japanese hairstyle (Shimada style) with her real hair which is rare. There are hairdressers in Japan who are trying to learn, preserve, and promote traditional Japanese hairstyles. It's quite complicated to create and you need really long hair. Nagahama, Shiga.
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This is Daitsuji Temple, Nagahama's largest Buddhist temple (Higashi Honganji) large enough to seat up to 1,000 women. The kimono ladies will gather here by 2 pm for the grand prize drawing.
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Event schedule.
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From 1 pm, the kimono ladies started to arrive at the Daitsuji Temple as the local duo ~Lefa~ played.
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Local duo ~Lefa~ performing at Daitsuji Temple.
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Local duo ~Lefa~ performing at Daitsuji Temple.
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Local duo ~Lefa~ performing at Daitsuji Temple.
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Local duo ~Lefa~ performing at Daitsuji Temple.
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Local duo ~Lefa~ performing at Daitsuji Temple.
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More kimono ladies start to arrive.
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Miss Biwako Kimono.
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Celebrities will join the stage program (talk show).
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The kimono women all gathered here by 2 pm for the prize drawing. They faced a makeshift stage.
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Nagahama Kimono Garden Party in mid-Oct. in Shiga Prefecture.
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On the stage, local sponsors and dignitaries pulled out the lucky lots one by one.Besides the trip to Hawaii as the grand prize, they gave out kimono fabric, travel certificates, free hotel rooms, and other valuable prizes sponsored by local businesses.
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This is the super lucky girl who won the free trip to Hawaii. She was from the neighboring city of Maibara and plans to take her younger sister to Hawaii.Congratulations!!! Doesn't she look like a deserving person? Hope you enjoy my home state, Aloha and bon voyage!!
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After all the big prizes were given out, the remaining women were eligible to receive door prizes so they stood in line for that.
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