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The Sanno Matsuri Festival is one of Japan's Big Three Festivals and one of Tokyo's Big Three Festivals held in mid-June during several days. The main highlight is the Jinko-sai Procession held every two years. The 600-meter long procession consists of about 500 people parading through central Tokyo near the National Diet, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, and Ginza. It includes three portable shrines, carriages, and flower floats. Various events are also held at Hie Shrine which holds the festival. Jinko-sai Procession left Hie Shrine at 8 am on June 11, 2004. Before noon, they approach the Imperial Palace. 山王まつり神幸祭
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The Jinko-sai Procession passes in front of the Imperial Palace.
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For a procession this large and grand, the crowd of spectators was extremely sparse. Good for photographers like me, but it was strange.
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Hie Shrine's Sanno Matsuri Jinko-sai Procession in front of Imperial Palace.
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One of the three portable shrines.
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The original procession included many high floats. However, due to overhead power lines and overpasses, such floats cannot be included.
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Omiko Shrine maidens
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Flower float, Sanno Matsuri
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Rest stop near Sakashita-mon Gate at the Imperial Palace.
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Shrine maidens dance in front of the three portable shrines near Sakashita-mon Gate.
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During this break period, the shrine priest and other representatives enter the Imperial Palace to pray for the peace, happiness, and prosperity of the Imperial family. Hie Shrine is the only shrine in Japan bestowed with this privilege.
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Some entertainment.
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The procession passes by Tatsumi Turret as it leaves the Imperial Palace.
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A mikoshi passes by Tatsumi Turret of the Imperial Palace durng the Sanno Matsuri Jinko-sai.
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Road to Tokyo Station.
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Crossing the street.
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All the auto traffic and urban noise robbed the dignity of the solemn procession.
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Crossing the street near Maru-biru Building. They proceeded to Tokyo Station, Kyobashi, Nihonbashi, Shimbashi, and Ginza before returning to Hie Shrine at 5:30 pm.
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Map of Jinko-sai Route.
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On the next day on June 12, 2004, was Miya-iri or portable shrines entering Hie Shrine. Led by this cart of festival musicians. 山王まつり宮入り
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Children dressed as tekomai, Sanno Festival.
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Parish members reach the shrine.
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Parish members wait for the portable shrines to arrive. The paper lanterns are written with the names of the parish.
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A mikoshi arrives at Hie Shrine.
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They pass through the ring.
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In front of the shrine, the priest blesses the mikoshi portable shrine.
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The portable shrines came one after another.
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Quite a spectacle.
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Hie Shrine Sanno Matsuri
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People linger in the shrine after all the mikoshi had arrived.
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On the next day June 13, 2004, a Daidengaku troupe performed dances. 大田楽
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It was semi-traditional and semi-modern.
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Kentosai Sacred Dance
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Shrine maidens perform Kentosai dance
   
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