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Being next to the Pacific Ocean, Chiba has quite a few festivals held on the beach. The Kazusa Junisha Matsuri is one of the larger ones. Sept. 13, 2009 (Sun.) was the main festival day when they went in the water at the beach.
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The day starts with a Shinto ceremony at 10 am at Tamasaki Shrine, near Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station on the JR Sotobo Line. 玉前神社
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Tamasaki Shrine is crowded with people as a ceremony still goes on. The Kazusa Junisha Matsuri started in 807. It is designated as Chiba Prefecture's Intangible Cultural Property.
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Two portable shrines in front of the Kaguraden stage. Kazusa is the name of the former province in central Chiba Prefecture. Junisha means twelve shrines.
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Sacred dance at the Kaguraden by Sarutahiko.
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Tamasaki Shrine torii
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The girls had their hair airbrushed with colorful designs. I've noticed that women and girls participating in matsuri have become quite fashionable, chic, or hip.
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Girls were originally not allowed to participate in the festival, but now they do even though it is a hadaka (nude) festival. Of course, no one is really naked.
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Sacred horse
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One of the child horse riders.
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Child horse rider sits on a bunch of soft cushions on the horse.
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A procession departs Tamasaki Shrine at 1 pm, led by Sarutahiko.
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The beginning of the procession consists of a few portable shrines pulled by children.
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The sacred horse and child riders soon join the procession as they leave Tamasaki Shrine.
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Child rider leaving Tamasaki Shrine.
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Leaving Tamasaki Shrine. It was impossible to judge where I should be to take good shots. I missed quite a few opportunities. I have to see the festival again to take the shots I wanted to take this time.
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Back at Tamasaki Shrine are two other portable shrines which had arrived from Sannomiya Shrine, one of the junisha (12 shrines) in the Kazusa area.
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The portable shrines begin to leave Tamasaki Shrine.
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A portable shrine leaves Tamasaki Shrine.
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They then ran with the portable shrine. They will run while carrying the shrine to the beach several kilometers away.
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The beach is too far to walk, so they provided free shuttle buses to the beach from Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station from 2 pm. It was a 10-15 min. ride to the beach.
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On Kujukuri Beach, there a stretch of beach called Tsurigasaki Kaigan marked by a torii.
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Tsurigasaki Kaigan beach is where they believe the gods arrive. 釣ケ先海岸
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Tsurigasaki Kaigan is where the horses and portable shrines will start to arrive at 2:30 pm to 3 pm. This is where the crowd is. But the beach is big enough for all of us.
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On the beach. Good spot for surfing as well.
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One child horse rider arrives.
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One great thing about this hadaka matsuri is that there are women as well. Most hadaka matsuri have only men.
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The mikoshi arrive on the beach.
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They give a few cheers before they started running on the beach.
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Here they come.
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Women too, while they are careful to prevent any nip slips.
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They run on the beach while carrying the mikoshi.
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A stampede.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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They head for Tsurigasaki Beach, where the torii is.
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They prop up the mikoshi before carrying it toward the ceremony place.
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The mikoshi start to gather for a ceremony.
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The mikoshi start to gather for a ceremony as they all run at full speed.
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More mikoshi arrive.
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Shrine priest arrive on horseback. He looked very weary. It was a hot day too.
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After the ceremony, they head for the water.
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Very jovial and noisy.
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To the beach and water.
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In the water, maybe ankle deep. But the waves made it knee-deep.
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Everyone is yelling and cheering.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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They tossed the mikoshi into the air a few times.
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Back on land.
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Festival girls posing for me. They love the attention.
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Kazusa Junisha Matsuri Festival, Ichinomiya, Chiba on Sept. 13, 2009.
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Women standing by to pull the mikoshi.
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Tossing the mikoshi into the air.
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I kept shooting their backs. Next time, I'll try to shoot more faces.
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You could go in front of them to shoot their faces, but the water would be deeper.
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They kept waving their fans and cheering in the water.
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Great spectacle, especially with women included. Great idea to allow women in the festival.
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Returning to land.
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The men covered their bellies, while the women covered their bellies and chests.
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My YouTube video of the Kazusa Junisha Matsuri in 2009. Watch them in the water and the girls waving fans.
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This festival separates the amateur photographers from the pros. Amateurs wear long pants and shoes and enter the ocean to take pictures. I was of course wearing shorts and rubber slippers (but barefoot in the water).
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The next spectacle was them running through the torii on the beach.
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All the mikoshi headed for the torii.
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First were the horses galloping through. Each horse was guided by two men running alongside.
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The boy looked thrilled to be riding at full speed. Very bumpy though.
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Then the mikoshi sped by one after another.
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Love these women running and pulling the mikoshi.
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It's amazing that no one tripped and fell.
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More women in fashionable clothing to pull a mikoshi.
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They are cheering and shouting throughout.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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It would take them about an hour to get back to town.
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The sacred horse arrive in town.
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More horses arrive.
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Making way for the horses.
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Shrine priest arrives.
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From 6 pm, they paraded the mikoshi on the main road near Tamasaki Shrine.
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Like on the beach, they wave fans and cheer.
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Sometimes they tossed the mikoshi up.
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Women waved fans.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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From 7 pm, the mikoshi started returning to Tamasaki Shrine. At 8 pm, the god's spirit in the mikoshi was returned to the shrine.
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PR poster for Kazusa Junisha Matsuri.
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Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station on the JR Sotobo Line.
 
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