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The Omizo Matsuri is the biggest festival (Reisai) of Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine in Takashima (not to be confused with Hiyoshi Taisha in Otsu which is related) held annually on May 3-4.
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May 3 is the Yoimiya or festival eve when they parade the five ornate hikiyama floats in the evening from 6:45 pm. They first gather in front of Ebisu-so, near Omi-Takashima Station. This is the Minato (湊) float.
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The floats are decorated with paper lanterns lit up. They return to Ebisu-so by 10:30 pm. When I went on May 3, 2010, there were local volunteer guides at the train station distributing maps of the parade route and giving directions. Very helpful.
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The hikiyama float's wheels cannot turn, so they turn the float by tilting it and turning it by force. This is the Tomoe (巴) hikiyama float.
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The floats are pretty small, compared to other float festivals in Shiga. So they are light enough to tilt when they need to turn. This is the Takara (宝) float.
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The paper lanterns is emblazoned with the name of the float. Each name has only one kanji character. This is the Isamu (勇) hikiyama float.
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Some people wore happi coats, but many people didn't. So it didn't look as traditional as other float festivals.
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I followed them to the lake shore as the sky got darker.
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The Omizo Matsuri is a Shiga Prefecture Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
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There were so many spectators so it was easy to move around and shoot.
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They made a U-turn at the Otabisho near the lake shore.
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The Takara and Tomoe floats pass by each other during the Omizo Matsuri.
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Pulling the Ryu (龍) hikiyama.
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At around 7:30 pm, they all gathered here near the hospital and took a break. 分部神社前
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The floats have festival musicians who play the taiko drum, bell, and flute.
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Then the floats passed by Omi-Takashima Station which has a giant Gulliver statue.
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Omizo Matsuri float passing by Omi-Takashima Station.
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Omizo Matsuri float passing by Omi-Takashima Station.
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Omizo Matsuri float passing by Omi-Takashima Station.
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Lanterns inside Omi-Takashima Station.
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My YouTube video of the Omizo Matsuri in 2010.
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On the next morning on May 4, 2010, a nice sunny day greeted the floats. The five floats started rolling at 10 am and headed slowly for Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine.
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Like the night before, local volunteer guides at Omi-Takashima Station gave directions and maps of the procession route. Very helpful even though there weren't too many tourists.
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Every year, they take turns being the first float (called Hanayama 花山) in the procession.
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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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The wheels are pretty small compared to other floats in Shiga.
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Passing by the elementary school. The stone marker indicates the way to Hiyoshi Jinja.
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Float pullers definitely look better with happi coats.
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Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine. MAP
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Torii at Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine. 日吉神社
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Steps to the shrine's hall.
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About Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine in Japanese.
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The floats started arriving at Hiyoshi Jinja by 10:30 am.
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They ran while pulling the float into the shrine grounds.
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Then they turned the float and parked it.
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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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Finally the last hikiyama is parked along side the others.
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The shrine priest blesses each hikiyama.
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I then took some pictures of each hikiyama. This is the Ryu (dragon) hikiyama float (龍).
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Each float has a tapestry on the back. This is the Ryu hikiyama float.
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They didn't have any signs indicating the name of the float. Isamu hikiyama float (勇).
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Tapestry behind the Isamu hikiyama float.
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Takara hikiyama float (寳). The roof ornament is very large.
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Tapestry on the back of Takara hikiyama float.
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Tomoe hikiyama float (巴)
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Tapestry on Tomoe hikiyama float (巴).
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Minato hikiyama float (湊)
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Sculpture on Minato hikiyama float.
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Tapestry on the back of Minato float.
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They tossed mochi after this in the shrine, but I left early to see the Shichikawa Festival in Shin-Asahi. Sorry, no photos of what happened here after this.
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Omizo Matsuri poster
 
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