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Shimosuwa Station on May 8, 2004. Here for the final three days of the Onbashira Matsuri's climax, the Satobiki when they haul the Onbashira logs to the Shimo-sha Shrines (Akimiya and Harumiya) and erect them.
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Onbashira monument in front of Shimosuwa Station. This Onbashira log was used in the opening ceremony of the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998.
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Entertainment stage in front of Shimosuwa Station.
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In front of Shimosuwa Station.
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Parade of Nagamochi which are long chests. 長持
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Crowded street
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Nagamochi. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Nagamochi chest decorations
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Umbrella dance
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine torii
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine. That's a support pole for erecting the No. 1 Akimiya Onbashira log. 秋宮
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine 秋宮 幣拝殿
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Hole for the No. 4 Akimiya Onbashira log
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Small support poles.
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine priests 秋宮
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Taiko performance at Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine's Kaguraden
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Shimenawa sacred rope on Kaguraden
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Onbashira Grand Park
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Harumiya torii 春宮大門
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On the way to Harumiya Shrine, you see this bridge. It is a rest stop for the Akimiya Onbashira log procession. 下馬橋
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The bridge is normally closed to the public. In the old days, this bridge marked Harumiya Shrine's sacred area where even warlords had to get out of their palanquin or get off their horse out of respect before proceeding further. 下馬橋
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Harumiya Shrine ahead.
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Harumiya Shrine torii 春宮
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Harumiya has a little slope where the logs are slid down.
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People everywhere.
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People along the small slope.
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This is May 9, 2004, the second day of Shimo-sha Shrine's Satobiki. Shimo-sha Shrine consists of two separate shrines called Akimiya and Harumiya.
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Ropes to pull the Onbashira log from Harumiya Shrine.
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Log in Harumiya Shrine.
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Onbashira Log No. 1 already erected for Harumiya Shrine on May 8, 2004.
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Erecting Onbashira Log No. 4 for Harumiya Shrine on May 9, 2004. 春宮四之御柱
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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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Everything is done with great fanfare, with these men riding on the log as it slowly rises by a system of cables and pulleys.
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"Yoisa! Yoisa!"
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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When the log is erected, a banner is unrolled.
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The banner reads, "Thank you everyone for your cooperation."
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Sake is given for free.
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The men now descend from the log.
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A few of them are acrobats. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Onbashira Log No. 3 for Harumiya Shrine.
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The base of the Onbashira log is reinforced by these smaller logs.
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Music Box Museum
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Parade
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One Onbashira log at a rest stop.
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Ropes at rest
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The logs are pulled by people from various districts or parishes in the Suwa region including Chino, Shimosuwa, Okaya, and Suwa.
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Another Onbashira log makes its way through.
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All the Onbashira logs are hauled manually by human hands from when it is cut in the mountain forest. No motor vehicles of any kind is used to haul the logs.
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Onbashira Matsuri, Shimosuwa, Nagano. Also see my video at YouTube.
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The log can move quite fast, even with all those people riding it.
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This looks like Log No. 2 for Akimiya Shrine.
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These people are from Suwa city.
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Ax man
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Log standing by in front of Akimiya Shrine.
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Onbashira-sai, Shimosuwa-machi, Nagano.
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Log standing by in front of Akimiya Shrine.
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Parade continues even in the rain.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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Now it's May 10, 2004, the last day of the Shimo-sha Satobiki. All four logs will erected at Akimiya Shrine on this day.
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We waited in the rain for Onbashira Log No. 1 to be erected first at Akimiya Shrine at 10:00 am. However, we had to wait, standing up in the rain and in the crowd, for 2.5 hours before they finally started to raise the log.
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Finally, something to photograph.
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They threw out free streamers and I caught one. "Yoisa! Yoisa!"
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They waved their pom-poms and cheered all the while.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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Onbashira Festival. They included one woman.
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Banners unfurled.
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Now they descend.
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The only woman on the log. After this log-raising, I had seen enough. This No. 1 log offered the best view of all the four Akimiya logs.
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Lingering crowd. Also see photos of Shimo-sha Yamadashi.
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