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Taga Taisha Shrine on April 22, 2009 at around 9:30 am. The day of the annual Taga Matsuri, a festival and procession of Shinto priests, children in costume, women warriors, and more people on 40 horses.
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Two mikoshi portable shrines in front of the shrine await action. MAP
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A Shinto ceremomy was held at the shrine at 8:30 am.
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Taga Matsuri paper lantern decorated the homes leading to the shrine.
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Girls dressed as shrine maidens pose for a picture. They will join the afetrnoon procession and perform a sacred dance at the Otabisho.
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Shrine maidens
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Closeup of the crown.
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The horses are readied.
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Prayers to the mikoshi portable shrine.
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Phoenix atop the mikoshi.
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The morning procession leaves Taga Taisha at 10:30 am heading for Totonomiya Shrine in Kurusu. It turned out to be pretty far away. 調宮神社 栗栖
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One horse after another leaves the shrine.
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Both mikoshi went over the shrine's steep, arched, stone bridge.
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The main mikoshi leaves Taga Taisha.
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They raise the mikoshi high up.
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The procession first goes on a major highway where one lane is closed to traffic.
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They pass by Taga Taisha's rice paddy where they hold the rice-planting festival in June.
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Shrine maiden dancers. 舞女
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We are going way deep into the countryside, toward the mountains in Taga.
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Taga Matsuri Festival on April 22, Shiga Prefecture. 多賀まつり
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The kids wore this cushion-like padding on their backs.
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Kurusu in sight. 栗栖
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The procession is led by a police car.
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Banner for Totonomiya Shrine.
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Entering Kurusu.
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We are met with a welcoming committee consisting of bell ringers and the beating of a huge taiko drum.
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Huge taiko drum made a deep sound echoing throughout the place. These men soon got tired beating the drum and took turns.
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Bell ringing.
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This is the Otabisho at Totonomiya Shrine. The bridge on the left leads to the shrine. We arrived at around 11:40 am. It means we walked for over an hour.
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It was a nice place though, with clean rivers and lush greenery.
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Totonomiya Shrine
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Everyone started to arrive.
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Totonomiya Shrine 調宮神社
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Mikoshi over the bridge to the shrine.
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Mikoshi entering Totonomiya Shrine.
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At Totonomiya Shrine, they held a Shinto ceremony.
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Bringing offerings to the shrine.
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Ceremony
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It was then a lunch break until 1 pm. I took the time to walk around the area.
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Before 1 pm, people started preparing for the procession back to Taga Taisha.
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He must be three years old. One of the youngest photographers I've seen unassisted. I wish I started that young.
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The procession is ready to head back by 1 pm.
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Don't forget the mikoshi.
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Leaving Kurusu.
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Meanwhile, back at Taga Taisha, more people and horses wait to join the procession for the afternoon procession to the Otabisho in Amago, a short distance away.
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The afternoon procession is the main one to leave the shrine at 2 pm. These people will join the morning procession when it arrives here at 2 pm.
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The afternoon procession included these two foxy ladies who supposed to be women warriors on horseback. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Woman warrior on horseback for the Taga Matsuri, Shiga Prefecture. 女武者
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Woman warrior on horseback for the Taga Matsuri, Shiga Prefecture. 女武者
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The morning procession arrives at the shrine.
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The women warriors and more people on horseback start to join the procession.
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Taga town mayor.
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Shrine maiden dancers.
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A total of about 500 people were in the procession.
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And there they go to the Otabisho.
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Mikoshi arrives at Taga Taisha and passes by.
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The main mikoshi also passes by the shrine.
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The went through the main road of Taga.
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The Otabisho.
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The procession arrived at the Otabisho at 2:30 pm.
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Mikoshi arrives at the Otabisho, a resting place for a procession.
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At the Otabisho, they held a ceremony with the mikoshi.
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The young shrine maidens also danced, Taga Matsuri.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Shrine maiden holds bells and a branch of leaves. Very charming dance.
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Another ceremony was the passing of the Tomi-no-ki tree branch (Japanese Judas tree) at 3:30 pm. 富の木渡し式
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With a long bamboo pole, the shrine priest gave a small tree branch to the head horseman. The branch came from a Japanese Judas tree at Totonomiya Shrine.
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This branch is a symbol of a good harvest.
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At 4 pm, the procession headed back to Taga Taisha Shrine, starting with the children's mikoshi.
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The children's mikoshi arrive back at Taga Taisha.
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Woman warriors arrive back too.
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Good-looking woman warrior on a horse, Taga Matsuri, Shiga Pref.
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Taga town mayor.
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They all returned to Taga Taisha.
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Even with all these horses, I didn't see anyone cleaning up after them. Watch your step...
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Both mikoshi also went over the steep arched bridge.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Taga Matsuri
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Another ceremony was held at 5 pm.
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Taga Matsuri poster.
     
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