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On March 25, Kameido Tenjin Shrine holds the Taimatsu Torch Festival officially named "Shinkisai" (亀戸天神 松明祭り・神忌祭) at 6 pm to 7 pm.
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The shrine worships Sugawara-no-Michizane, the god of learning and scholarship. So many students come and pray here to pass school entrance exams.The torch festival marks the anniversary of Michizane's death on March 25. All Tenjin and Tenmangu shrines are dedicated to Michizane. The festival started with a short ceremony inside the shrine's worship hall at 6 pm. It was followed by the torch procession.
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The torch bearers were volunteers from the public who had signed up for the task. They carried bamboo sticks lit by a small bon fire.
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Since the torch bearers supposed to receive good fortune from the god, there is no shortage of volunteers, including a few foreigners.
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Michizane's spirit, which had been transferred from the shrine, is carried in the procession within a silk cloth barrier.
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A priest holding the spirit (probably in a little box) is walking inside the silk cloth barrier (絹垣(きぬがき)). One of the priests let out a low-tone moan as Michizane passed by. Very dignified.
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Gagaku musicians also played in the procession that went around the shrine grounds.
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The torch bearers were monitored by firemen who carried small fire extinguishers that squirted water on the small embers on the ground and any torches that burned too close to the human.
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The torch procession went over one of the shrine's trademark arch bridges. They walked within the shrine grounds along the main paths, through the center and perimeter.
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Spectators and photographers were not allowed to be on the bridges when the procession crossed over.
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The torch procession went over one of the shrine's trademark arch bridges.
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They passed by the shrine and proceeded to the other side of the shrine grounds.
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On March 25, Kameido Tenjin Shrine holds the Taimatsu Torch Festival officially named "Shinkisai."
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See my YouTube video of the Kameido Tenjin Shrine's Taimatsu Torch Festival on March 25, 2016.
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Shrine priest throws some sacred confetti to purify the path ahead of Michizane's spirit coming through in the procession at Kameido Tenjin.
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Michizane's spirit goes over the taiko-bashi bridge.
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The lantern bearer provides light for the priest inside the cloth barrier carrying Michizane's spirit.
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The torch procession returned to the shrine's worship hall at about 7 pm. This picture looks light, but it was actually quite dark.
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine torch festival
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Small bon fire next to the shrine that lit the torches.
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A ceremony was held again to transfer the spirit back to the shrine.
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Main worship hall.
     
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