JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Last additions - Ryuo 竜王町
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My video of Namura Shrine's Sekku Matsuri festivalJul 04, 2011
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This mikoshi went to Higashi Honden.Jul 04, 2011
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Two of the mikoshi are put back into the storehouse.Jul 04, 2011
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One mikoshi was taken to the Higashi Honden across the street.Jul 04, 2011
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After the yabusame, they carried the mikoshi back.Jul 04, 2011
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They had seven horses.Jul 04, 2011
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Horseback archer.Jul 04, 2011
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At least two riders took a spill and fell from the horse. No injuries though, and I filmed one of the riders who fell. See my video below.Jul 04, 2011
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After the archer's successful run, the other riders just trotted past a few times without shooting any arrows.Jul 04, 2011
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Bull's eye. Compared to other yabusame that I've seen, she rode the horse pretty slow.Jul 04, 2011
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This one hit the target.Jul 04, 2011
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She shoots the arrow...Jul 04, 2011
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It seemed to be a provincial festival with few tourists. It wasn't so crowded and most people were local people.Jul 04, 2011
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She missed the target the first two times.Jul 04, 2011
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She did a few practice runs first.Jul 04, 2011
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The yabusame (horseback archery) part of the festival finally started at around 4 pm. There were several horseback riders, but only this woman was going to shoot arrows.Jul 04, 2011
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Meanwhile, a bunch of horses standby in the trees.Jul 04, 2011
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Children bearing mikoshi in front of Romon Gate.Jul 04, 2011
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They carried the mikoshi around the Haiden Hall, then went around the neighborhood.Jul 04, 2011
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The festival started in the afternoon with children carrying mikoshi portable shrines.Jul 04, 2011
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Yabusame horseback archery target.Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Sekku Festival's highlight is the yabusame horseback archery. There's a path in front of the Romon Gate for horses. They had two archery targets set up along the path.Jul 04, 2011
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Poster for Namura Shrine's Sekku Matsuri Festival held on May 5. May 5 is Children's Day and the festival prays for their healthy growth along with a good harvest.Jul 04, 2011
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Higashi Honden 苗村神社東本殿Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Higashi Honden, an Important Cultural Property 苗村神社東本殿Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Higashi Honden, an Important Cultural Property in Ryuo, Shiga. Dedicated to a major god called Ōkuninushi (大国主) and Susano-o (素盞嗚尊). 苗村神社東本殿Jul 04, 2011
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Short, wooded path to the Higashi Honden shrine.Jul 04, 2011
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Stone monuments marking the Namura Shrine's east section.Jul 04, 2011
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Across the street from Namura Shrine is the Higashi Honden torii. 苗村神社東本殿Jul 04, 2011
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Path back to the torii. Across the street beyond the torii is Namura Shrine's east section where the Higashi Honden Hall is located.Jul 04, 2011
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Fudo-myoo Shrine, an affiliate shrine.Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine and Sagicho pile to be burned. Ryuo-cho, Shiga.Jul 04, 2011
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Sacred horse statueJul 04, 2011
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Haiden hall, reconstructed anew.Jul 04, 2011
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Babysitter sculpture 子守りの像Jul 04, 2011
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Affiliate shrine next to the Nishi Honden.Jul 04, 2011
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About the Portable shrine storehouse.Jul 04, 2011
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Portable shrine storehouse dating from the Muromachi Period, also an Important Cultural Property.Jul 04, 2011
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About Juzenji Shisha Honden shrine.Jul 04, 2011
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On the left is Nishi Honden hall, a National Treasure. On the right is Juzenji Shisha Honden shrine (十禅師神社本殿), an Important Cultural Property.Jul 04, 2011
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About Hachiman Shrine, an Important Cultural Property.Jul 04, 2011
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About Nishi Honden hall, a National Treasure. Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Nishi Honden hall, a National Treasure. It is dedicated to a god named Kuni-no-sazuchi-no-Mikoto (国狭槌命), the protector of grassy hills.Jul 04, 2011
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In the center is Namura Shrine's Nishi Honden hall, a National Treasure. On the left is Hachiman Shrine, an Important Cultural Property. I could finally see this building directly. Ryuo, Shiga.Jul 04, 2011
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Honden Hall offerings.Jul 04, 2011
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On May 5, on the Sekku Matsuri, they opened the inner part of the shrine and so I went and got a closeup look at the Honden Hall.Jul 04, 2011
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Pray here in front of the Honden Hall. Normally, you cannot enter beyond this point.Jul 04, 2011
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People pray at Namura Shrine for business prosperity, fertility, safe childbirth, and to ward off bad luck years.Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Jinja Shrine is noted for its Nishi Honden hall which is a National Treasure. The shrine's architecture is from the Kamakura Period. 楼門Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine is divided into the west and east areas. This is the west area which is larger and the main section. Haiden Hall on the left and Nishi Honden on the right behind a wall.Jul 04, 2011
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Thatch roof of Romon Gate.Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Romon Gate, Ryuo, Shiga. Important Cultural Property.Jul 04, 2011
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Little shrine and little garden near the Romon Gate.Jul 04, 2011
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Romon Gate and wash basin.Jul 04, 2011
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On May 5, Children's Day, koinobori carp streamers were raised.Jul 04, 2011
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The exact year when the shrine was established is unknown, but records go back as far as the year 969.Jul 04, 2011
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About Namura Shrine's Romon Gate.Jul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine's Romon Gate, Important Cultural Property 楼門Jul 04, 2011
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Thatched-roof gate 茅葺きの楼門Jul 04, 2011
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Path to Namura Shrine's Romon gate. Shrine's address: 滋賀県蒲生郡竜王町大字綾戸467 MAPJul 04, 2011
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Namura Shrine ToriiJul 04, 2011
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Busy road in front of Namura Jinja Shrine.Jul 04, 2011
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Marker showing the former location of Namura Shrine's torii gate. This is near the Ayato Kita (綾戸北) bus stop, the nearest to Namura Shrine from Omi-Hachiman Station. Take the bus going Mitsui Outlet Mall.Jul 04, 2011
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Nice name for a store.Jun 25, 2011
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Azaleas in spring.Jun 25, 2011
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A small park outside the mall next to the pond.Jun 25, 2011
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Food Court.Jun 25, 2011
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Kua Aina, a hamburger joint from Hawaii, also had a long line.Jun 25, 2011
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Popular restaurants attract large crowds.Jun 25, 2011
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Red kon-yaku or devil's tongue.Jun 25, 2011
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My favorite shop is this one selling products (mainly edible) from Shiga.Jun 25, 2011
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Entertainment stageJun 25, 2011
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Entertainment stageJun 25, 2011
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There are two levels running in a slim rectangle.Jun 25, 2011
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The shops open from 10 am to 8 pm. Buses run from Omi-Hachiman and Yasu Stations.Jun 25, 2011
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Most are clothing shops and some are first-time outlet shops. There are many big names including Burberry, Gap Outlet, Barney’s New York Outlet, Armani, Paul Smith, Coach, Beams, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Bebe, Edwin, Vans, Levi’s, Puma, and Adidas.Jun 25, 2011
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Lots of parking space.Jun 25, 2011
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Opened on July 8, 2010, the Mitsui Outlet Park is near the Ryuo Interchange on the Meishin Expressway, making it readily accessible by car for shoppers coming from Kyoto, Nara, Mie, and Gifu. MAPJun 25, 2011
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It is the first outlet mall in the Kyoto-Shiga area. The two-level mall has 165 stores, 145 of which are outlet shops.Jun 25, 2011
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My YouTube video of the Yuge Fire Festival in 2010.Jun 06, 2010
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It was great though. Highly recommend seeing this. Had to catch a taxi back to Omi-Hachiman which cost around 1600 yen.May 31, 2010
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They also had big sky fireworks. I couldn't believe how a little rural shrine could afford to display so much fireworks. And there weren't that many people watching either.May 31, 2010
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Also see my YouTube video here.May 31, 2010
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They were doused with kerosene so they burned up quickly.May 31, 2010
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At the same time as Niagara Falls, they lit the two giant torches. It was hard to watch both the Niagara Falls and giant torches at the same time. But Niagara soon petered out.May 31, 2010
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Niagara Falls fireworks changed color.May 31, 2010
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Shooting fireworks.May 31, 2010
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Niagara Falls fireworks were lit up. Remember that string that was hung across the poles?May 31, 2010
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Yes, it's Doraemon as fireworks. This lasted briefly before it snuffed out. I heard that they have this every year for this Yuge Fire Festival.May 31, 2010
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Then they lit everything else. May 31, 2010
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Watch out for them flares.May 31, 2010
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Then at 9 pm, they first lit the small torches in front of the Haiden. And they threw numerous flares high into the air, sometimes landing on the crowd. (Women screaming.)May 31, 2010
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They also popped numerous firecrackers. Almost like Chinese New Year's. So much that it was irritating.May 31, 2010
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Children's mikoshi return to the shrine.May 31, 2010
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Children's mikoshi. This was on May 1, 2010 and it was an unusually chilly evening.May 31, 2010
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Glad to see them return because the fun wouldn't begin until they got back at around 8:50 pm. It was pretty cold that night.May 31, 2010
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At 7:30 pm, the children's mikoshi and a large taiko drum left the shrine to parade around the neighborhood.May 31, 2010
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Giant torches stand ready.May 31, 2010
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Torii of Kobiyoshi Shrine and giant torches in the distance, Ryuo, Shiga Prefecture.May 31, 2010
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Torii and lantern-lined path to Kobiyoshi Shrine.May 31, 2010
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Torii of Kobiyoshi Shrine and giant torches in the distance for Yuge Fire Festival.May 31, 2010
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Behind Kobiyoshi Shrine is the Hino River. Nice place to sit and have a bento dinner.May 31, 2010
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Getting darker.May 31, 2010
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Kobiyoshi Shrine's Honden main hall.May 31, 2010
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Farm land next to the shrine. Notice the giant torches on the right.May 31, 2010
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In front of the Haiden Hall were small torches.May 31, 2010
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Small torches in front of the Haiden.May 31, 2010
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A touch of modernity and anime at Yuge Fire Festival in Ryuo. Can you tell what this is?May 31, 2010
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Path to Kobiyoshi Shrine.May 31, 2010
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Also this string hung up here?May 31, 2010
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Top of a giant torch.May 31, 2010
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There is definitely something religious about these torches.May 31, 2010
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Two giant torches made of straw were on display in front of the shrine.May 31, 2010
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Kobiyoshi Shrine in rural Ryuo holds the Yuge no Hi Matsuri fire festival on the evening of May 1. See small torches, tossing flares, lots of firecrackers, fireworks, two giant straw torches. 弓削の火祭り MAPFrom Omi-Hachiman Station No. 4 bus stop, board the bus for Okaya Minami and get off at Nishikawa Higashi-guchi bus stop. The ride is about 13 min. From the bus stop, the shrine is a 10-min. walk. You can also take a taxi from Omi-Hachiman Station. Taxi would be required on the way back to Omi-Hachiman since the buses will not be running after the festival is over.May 31, 2010
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I took the bus from Omi-Hachiman Station and walked to the shrine. It's hard to find the shrine if you don't know where it is. I went before dark to make it easier to find. Yuge Fire Festival in Ryuo.May 31, 2010
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Also see my YouTube Video here.May 15, 2009
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Naginata Odori in Ryuo. 長刀仕舞振り(長刀芸)May 15, 2009
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Naginata dance 長刀仕舞振り(長刀芸)May 15, 2009
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Kenketo Matsuri posterMay 15, 2009
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Kenketo Matsuri in Ryuo. Also see my YouTube Video here.May 15, 2009
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The boys had these small bells on their back.May 15, 2009
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Back at Suginoki Shrine.May 15, 2009
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The procession arrived Higashi Hiyoshi Shrine at about 2:15 pm.May 15, 2009
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Suginoki Shrine May 15, 2009
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Suginoki Shrine Honden HallMay 15, 2009
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Another path to the shrine decorated with paper lanterns.May 15, 2009
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Stone monument commemorating Suginoki Shrine as the birthplace as the Naginata Matsuri festival. 薙刀踊り発祥の宮(石碑) 杉之木神社May 15, 2009
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Suginoki Shrine Honden HallMay 15, 2009
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The main path to Suginoki Shrine in Ryuo where the Kenketo and naginata procession will come through. The Kenketo Matsuri festival is held annually on May 3. It features the naginata dance and more.May 15, 2009
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On the day of the festival on May 3, the Kenketo and naginata dance are held at multiple shrines in the area including neighboring Higashi-Omi. This is Higashi Hiyoshi Shrine (short walk from Suginoki) where a kenketo procession was to arrive and dance.May 15, 2009
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Grounds of Suginoki Shrine and main venue for the Kenketo Festival in Ryuo.May 15, 2009
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Suginoki Jinja Shrine. A short walk from Yamanoue 山之上 bus stop from JR Omi-Hachiman Station. 杉之木神社 MAPMay 15, 2009
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You can buy a bunch of carrots to feed the sheep. You have to go through the museum to get here. 動物ふれあい広場May 15, 2009
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Very fluffy wool.May 15, 2009
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Goats too. Putting golf range even. For more info call 0748-57-1311 (in Japanese).May 15, 2009
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Outside is a small area for animals.May 15, 2009
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Agri-Park Ryuo's farm house museum. Small admission of 200 yen charged. 田園資料館May 15, 2009
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Ryuo manhole, Shiga Pref.May 15, 2009
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Inside the museum is a replica of a thatched-roof farmhouse.May 15, 2009
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Inside a replica of a thatched-roof farmhouse.May 15, 2009
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Agri-Park Ryuo is open 10 am - 5 pm, closed Mondays (open if a national holiday and closed Tue. instead).May 15, 2009
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Old farming toolsMay 15, 2009
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Fire department at KawamoriMay 15, 2009
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Kawamori Castle, Ryuo-cho, Shiga 川守城跡 MAPMay 15, 2009
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At the entrance of Agri-Park Ryuo is a dragon statue. The dragon is a symbol of Ryuo which means Dragon King.May 15, 2009
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Vote for Shiga's first woman governor (in July 2006).May 15, 2009
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Kawamori CastleMay 15, 2009
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Agri-Park Ryuo is a local farmer's market with a few shops and restaurants, a pond with swan boats, farm house museum, and petting zoo. アグリパーク竜王 MAPMay 15, 2009
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Entering Ryuo-cho town by bus, heading for Oguchi 小口May 15, 2009
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Ryuo Town Hall, Shiga 竜王町役場 MAPMay 15, 2009
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Ryuo-cho Public LibraryMay 15, 2009
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Ryuo is accessble by bus from JR Omi-Hachiman Station, North exit bus stop. 近江八幡駅 北口バスターミナル. Catch a bus at stop 4 going to Okaya Minami 岡屋南. Or catch the Ryuo Daihatsu-mae bus.May 15, 2009
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Get off at Oguchi which is near central Ryuo and Namura Shrine. 小口May 15, 2009
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Oguchi intersection. Turn left for Namura Shrine and Kawamori.May 15, 2009
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To central Ryuo-cho.May 15, 2009
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2nd lookout point 第二展望台Jan 18, 2007
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Entrance to an ancient tumulus (No entry)Jan 16, 2007
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Sky over Ryuo-cho townJan 16, 2007
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Lookout pointJan 16, 2007
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Ferns all overJan 16, 2007
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Trail going down the middle of the mountain.Jan 16, 2007
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