Image search results - "hachioji"
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The Hachioji Matsuri is Hachioji's biggest event of the year. Held during the first weekend (Fri-Sun.) of Aug., it is basically a festival of ornate floats paraded around the main streets near JR Hachioji Station.
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From the Edo Period, the festival was originally held by two local shrines, the Hachiman Yakumo Shrine and Taga Shrine. Both shrines are still involved, but today the festival is more of a community event organized by a large group of local organizations.
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I went on the second day years ago, and on the third day on Aug. 9, 2009. The second day features a parade of the 19 floats. The festival attracted over 600,000 people during the three days in Aug. 2009.
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The second day also has a taiko drumming contest for the Kanto region.
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Taiko drummer at Hachioji Matsuri. She was very good.
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Taiko drummer at Hachioji Matsuri.
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In the evening on the second day of Hachioji Matsuri is a large folk dance parade called Minyo Nagashi during 4 pm to 6 pm. 民踊流し
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Minyo Nagashi folk dancing at Hachioji Matsuri, Tokyo.
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JR Hachioji Station is decorated with Hachioji Matsuri paper lanterns. The station also had a festival information booth where you could obtain free festival maps/pamphlets and information (in Jaoanese).
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JR Hachioji Station is a very busy train station.
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Near the train station is this diagonal road called "Yu Road" leading to the Koshu Kaido (Route 20) main road where the festival is held.
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Yu Road is a shopping road.
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A float procession is ready to walk down Yu Road at 5 pm.
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There are 19 floats (dashi). Nine of them belong to the Shimo-chiku area of Hachiman Yakumo Shrine in the east part of the city. And ten of them are from the west part (Kami-chiku) under Taga Shrine.
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Earlier during the third day, they had Shishimai lion dances by this pair of lions displayed here.
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On the Koshu Kaido main road, they started a mikoshi (portable shrine) procession from 5 pm on the third day.
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Mikoshi bearers
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All-female mikoshi bearers.
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This float had a group of tekomai women, Hachioji Matsuri.
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Tekomai at Hachioji Matsuri, Tokyo.
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During the Edo Period, the floats originally had dolls. But since the late Meiji Period, the floats have become sculptured wooden floats. Eight of the floats were lost during World War II, but they were rebuilt. So some of them look quite new.
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The floats have a masked person dancing as a fox, etc. They are messengers of the gods.
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Koshu Kaido is filled with people during the mikoshi procession.
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A girl twirling a decorative pole.
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She was doing it to music. Hachioji Matsuri.
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Hachioji Matsuri. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Flute players
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Then at 6 pm, they held a "buttsuke" meeting between a few floats which performed at an intersection. This was at the Yokoyama-tsuji intersection. ぶっつけ
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Women in yukata watching the Hachioji Matsuri.
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Sometimes two floats would meet up again and perform together.
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They pulled the floats up and down the main road.
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One traditional float featuring dolls.
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Tekomai
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Pulling a float at Hachioji Matsuri.
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One float had a group of geisha-like musicians.
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Geisha-like musicians, playing the samisen.
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Now this is the Kami-chiku (上地区) section of Koshu Kaido where more floats were being paraded. However, I noticed that there were fewer people here. It's further away from the train station.
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Two floats in Kami-chiku.
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There are always people riding on the roof of the floats.
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Shishimai lion dance, Hachioji Matsuri.
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White fox
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Back to the more crowded Shimo-chiku was a meeting of nine floats at 7:45 pm. They were together for 30 min. 山車年番送り 札の辻
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Very crowded at Hachioji Matsuri.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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Another float procession.
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Coming down on Yu Road.
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Poster for Hachioji Matsuri in 2009.
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The name of the festival is "Hiwatari," literally meaning fire crossing. They make a big fire, then allow people to walk over the embers. This is the centerpiece of the festival, a pile of cypress tree branches to be burned.
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This festival is held on the second Sunday every March at the foot of Mt. Takao. It takes less than an hour from Shinjuku via the Keio Line. Train fare is only 370 yen. The pile of tree branches is supported by a wooden framework. A priest pours kerosene.
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The festival site is a short walk from Takao-san-guchi Station. It's held in this large lot cordoned off by a sacred rope. This festival is held as a prayer for traffic safety, household safety, and personal safety. It is held by the Yakuoin Yukiji Te
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Various ceremonies, rituals, and chanting takes place during one hour from 1 pm. Divine ax used to cut away earthly desires.
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Divine arrow to ward off any life-threatening devils. The festival is executed by the mountain ascetic priests called yamabushi.
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He shoots an arrow into the pile from the four corners.
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This long torch will be used to ignite the pile.
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The pile is first ignited from two sides.
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The pile catches fire very easily due to the kerosene. Even at this distance, it gets very hot. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Dai-hiwatari Festival, Mt. Takao, Tokyo
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She was tossing out these paper things to the crowd.
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Raking the fire. They are making the footpath for fire walkers.
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Raking the fire
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This priest splashed the boiling contents of this pot over himself.
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Head priest
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Blessing the path
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First the priests walked on the fire.
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Walking on fire
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Hiwatari fire-crossing festival, Mt. Takao, Tokyo
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Before and after walking over the fire, they stick their feet into a pile of salt.
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After crossing the fire, each person is blessed by the head priest with a tap on the shoulder by a baton.
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After the priests, the general public is invited to stand in line and cross the fire for free.
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I always wondered how hot it was to walk on the fire, so this time I decided to walk over the fire just to see how much heat my feet could bear. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Long line: It took us over 30 minutes to reach the fire.
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End of the line. It reads, "Saikobi."
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Everyone crosses barefoot, so we took off our shoes as we approached the fire crossing.
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First we pass through a gauntlet of chanters.
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Then we stick our feet in salt.
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This is what it looked like by the time we got there. Hardly any fire. It was somewhat wet, and it did not feel hot or warm at all. Pretty disappointing...This is what it looked like by the time we got there. Hardly any fire. It was somewhat wet, and it did not feel hot or warm at all. Pretty disappointing...
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End of the walk. Again we dip our feet in salt. We all ended up with muddy feet. There was no place to wash our feet either. Bringing wet tissues is highly recommended if you plan to walk on the fire.
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Priests parade back to temple.
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Yamabushi--mountain ascetic priests. They carried a conch-shell-like instrument.
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Back at the Yakuoin temple which belongs to the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. 薬王院
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Costume gals. Even these girls walked on the fire.

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