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Sagami River Koi-noboriMore pictures here
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From late April to early May, five long strings of giant carp streamers swim in the air high above the Sagami River in Sagamihara, Kanagawa. This event was started in 1988.
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I would say this is one of Japan's top five best places to see carp streamers at Kanna-machi, Gunma.
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Entertainment during Sagami Giant Kite Festival
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Misaki Shrine Fire Festival in Aisho. The shrine has a 5-meter tall pile of bamboo which is lit to make a towering inferno within the shrine grounds. Very dramatic. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Take off of a smaller kite
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Sagami River Koi-nobori
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Also see the video at YouTube.
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Marvelous spectacle
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And we have lift off!
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘Flowers are artificial.
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Female princess reigning over the Sakitama Fire Festival in Gyoda, SaitamaShe's 15 years old.
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Flower umbrella
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.
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Stage ceremonyThe torch bearers gathered in front of the stage where there were speeches and cheers.
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Eight strings x 100 carp streamers = 800 carp
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The Saio-dai Princess in 2005 was Saito Ayako, a 21-year-old Kyoto native and student at Doshisha Univ. Her 12-layer juni-hitoe kimono weighs 30 kg. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)The Saio-dai Princess is selected every year in April and a press conference is held to announce who was chosen. She is always a native of Kyoto, single, and in her early 20s. The Saio-dai was first incorporated in the festival in 1956. In 2005, she is the 50th Saio-dai.

Read more about here.
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The ropes are now completely cut, breaking the bond between the two rocks.
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Replacing the rope for the Wedded Rocks, Mie Pref.
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Five ropes are being positioned and made taut.
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All the while, the cheering section chants and wave streamers.
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The mountain top has a small rest house.
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View from mountain top, Kanna-machi town seen below.
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Erecting Onbashira Log No. 4 for Harumiya Shrine on May 9, 2004. Shimosuwa, Nagano. 春宮四之御柱
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Chigo children wearing an elaborate crown with the signs of the eto Oriental Zodiac. NikkoNikko Grand Spring Festival in May.
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Onbashira Matsuri, Shimosuwa, Nagano. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Warriors coming down the Omotesando. 武者行列
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Flower umbrellaThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Onbashira-sai, Shimosuwa-machi, Nagano.
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Kawaii!!
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She wears a juni-hitoe kimono and rides in a carriage called Oyoyo. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん (21)腰輿(およよ)
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Onbashira Festival. They included one woman.
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.
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Near departure time at Otabisho
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Shiga governor Kada Yukiko (lower right) pulling a festival float at the Chawan Matsuri in Yogo. Also see my YouTube video with her pulling the float. 滋賀県知事 嘉田由紀子
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At Hachiman Shrine, which was much more spacious than Nyu Shrine, everyone danced again.
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He holds a bell in his right hand and a gohei sacred staff with zigzag paper hanging. (御幣). 稚児の舞 鈴の舞
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You need some trained muscles and a flexible back to do what they are doing.
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Also see my YouTube video for these dances here.
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Detaching the pole from Kira (notice the cut on his forehead).
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May 3, 2006: Hino Matsuri at Umamioka Watamuki Shrine 本祭(馬見岡綿向神社)Map
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Pulling another float at the Hino Matsuri, Shiga Pref.
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It was the finest day for the Hino Matsuri festival.
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Ayame girls at Hyozu Matsuri.
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I often see foreigners participating in Shiga festivals.
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Ayame mikoshi girls at Hyozu Matsuri Festival, Shiga. 兵主祭
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They dance to live music with drums, bell, and flute. The Kenketo Odori dance of Tagi Shrine is a National Intangible Folk Cultural Property. 国選択無形民俗文化財
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Kenketo Odori dance at Tagi Shrine, Tsuchiyama, Shiga.
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The festival music is called Fuchu Hayashi (府中囃子) native to Fuchu. There are two schools: Meguro-ryu (lively music west of the shrine) and Funabashi-ryu (elegant music east of the shrine).
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Kurayami Matsuri in Fuchu, Tokyo
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Kurayami Matsuri: The mikoshi would spend the night at the Otabisho. At 4 am the next morning, they were carried back to the shrine by 7:30 am.
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Shichikawa Matsuri's yakko-furi dance is a Shiga Prefecture Intangible Folk Cultural Property. 滋賀県選択無形民俗文化財
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Yabusame horseback archer.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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The boys running. When you see them, you know the horse is coming so keep off the path.
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The horseback archer on his second run. He did not shoot any arrows.
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The performed two songs, TOKYO Ohara TOKYOオハラ and Chesuto! Ohara チェスト!おはら.
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Baton twirlers at Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Festival
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The dance parade restarted for the second half of the festival, Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Festival.
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Saigo Takamori and his dog at Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Festival.
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Saigo Takamori, Atsuhime, and Okubo Toshimichi at Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Festival.
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The Takara and Tomoe floats pass by each other during the Omizo Matsuri.
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At the Omizo Matsuri in Shiga, I couldn't get used to the people in casual clothes pulling a traditional float. Maybe they can't afford to buy happi coats for all these people.
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Tekomai
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All the Omizo Matsuri hikiyama arrived in succession as they ran each time. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Turning the float at Omizo Matsuri.
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Tekomai at Ome Taisai
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Joint jam session near JR Ome Station.
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Rooftop carvings are also nice.
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Ome Taisai
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Wooden clappers signal the start of the float's procession.
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Ome Taisai
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Woman planting rice at the rice-planting festival in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture.
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Rice-planting Festival in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture with Mt. Mikami in the background. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Nabe-kanmuri Matsuri procession held on May 3 by Chikuma Shrine, Maibara, Shiga Pref.
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On the second day (Sat.) of the Asakusa Sanja Matsuri at noon, numerous mikoshi (portable shrines) gather behind Sensoji temple, and wait their turn to depart for the streets of Asakusa.
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Asakusa Sanja Matsuri in front of Sensoji temple.
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The mikoshi passes under Kaminarimon Gate, a symbol of Asakusa. The giant red lantern is collapsed upward to make room.
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Sushikiri Matsuri (sushi-cutting festival) in Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture.
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This was my favorite part of the festival. Funa-zushi was offered to everyone at the festival. Some people refused though. I love it. It was salty. Goes great with alcohol.
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Tarui Hikiyama Matsuri held on May 2 in Tarui, Gifu. Featuring three floats and kabuki plays performed by boys (kodomo kabuki).
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Tarui Hikiyama Matsuri, Gifu. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Tarui Hikiyama Matsuri
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Tarui Hikiyama Festival
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The bird then spits out the fish. The person on the right is the fishing master's son being groomed to take over his father's job. The fishing master has been doing this for 50 years. It is a hereditary position and occupation. 鮎
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The burning torch provides light and attracts the sweetfish. The cormorants dive into the water to catch the fish. The bird then is pulled to the boat to spit out the fish. The ukai cormorant fishing master holds the leash to 10 to 12 birds.
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After spitting out its catch, the bird goes back into the water. The title of usho 鵜匠 (cormorant fishing master) was created by Oda Nobunaga. Only the Nagara River ukai fishing masters have this title. Other cormorant fishermen are u-zukai 鵜使い.
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Yes, it's Doraemon as fireworks. This lasted briefly before it snuffed out. I heard that they have this every year for this Yuge Fire Festival.
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At the same time as Niagara Falls, they lit the two giant torches. It was hard to watch both the Niagara Falls and giant torches at the same time. But Niagara soon petered out.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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