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Billboard depicting Ki-otoshi (Log Drop) at Shimosuwa Station.
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Shimosuwa Station 下諏訪駅
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Store your luggage here. Not enough lockers at the train station so they provide this service. 400 yen/day.
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Go straight on this road in front of the station.
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There are no buses nor taxis to where we want to go.
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We had to walk it. This was April 10, 2004, one of the days for Shimo-sha Shrine's Yamadashi when they hauled the logs from the mountain forest.
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After walking for 30 min., we reached this place called Shimekake, a resting place for the logs which had been hauled from the mountains. This is Log No. 2 for Akinomiya Shrine. 注連掛
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The logs will rest here for about a month until early May when they will be hauled to the shrines for the Satobiki erection.
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Here is where anybody can get on the logs and play.
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After the Shimekake, we walked further.
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Until we were stopped here. Sign says that only people with tickets can proceed further. Yeah, we walked all this way only to be told we cannot go further. Our destination was the Ki-otoshi slope where the huge logs slide down for the Yamadashi.
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We had to wait until the Ki-otoshi at 1pm was over. That's the one we wanted to see. But the place was already too full.
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We had to wait until the 1pm Ki-otoshi log came out.
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Log No. 4 for Shimo-sha Shrine's Akinomiya Shrine which already went down the big slope for Ki-otoshi (Log Drop) comes out at 1:30 pm. 秋宮四之柱
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Log No. 4 for Shimo-sha Shrine's Akinomiya Shrine. 秋宮四之柱
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So after this log came out, we were allowed to proceed to the giant slope.
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There it is, the slope.
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We weren't the only ones there.
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The Ki-otoshi slope, and one of the icons of the festival. This is the larger slope for Ki-otoshi compared to the one for the Kami-sha Shrine in Chino. 木落とし坂
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The Ki-otoshi slope up close. Very rough-looking. 木落とし坂
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People everywhere along the edge of the slope.
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The numerous people and trees made it impossible to see the slope itself.
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It was very steep and uncomfortable to sit on, so I decided to leave this place.
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I was forced to join this crowd.
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The crowd extended all the way to the rear. All to see the 3pm Ki-otoshi log drop.
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This was my view of the slope.
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Thank goodness for telephoto lenses.
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We waited for the log scheduled to come down at 3 pm, but it was delayed by 2 hours...
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We sat there for hours.
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Finally, people pulling the log appeared.
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The log pullers split into two.
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Then came the log, and a lotta dust which made it difficult to see what was going on.
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This was Log No. 1 for Shimo-sha's Harunomiya Shrine.
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But my camera captured the log going down, even though I could hardly see it. Onbashira Festival, Shimosuwa, Nagano. 木落とし坂 春宮一之柱
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It was over after a few seconds. We walked for an hour from the train station and waited hours for just a few seconds of mostly dust.
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Now we walked back together with hundreds of thousands of people...
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The Ax Man. He cuts the rope which sets the log loose down the slope.
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The log heading to the Shimekake resting place. If you don't like crowds, don't see this festival. Also see photos of Shimo-sha Satobiki.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Takasaki (30th post town on the Nakasendo) from his Kisokaido series.
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