JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Last additions - Taga 多賀町
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Video of Taga Taisha Shrine celebrating Setsubun on Feb. 3.Jan 08, 2017
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Taga Taisha-mae Station's waiting room also has a showcase of ema prayer tablets from various shrines.Apr 24, 2014
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When there's no exhibition inside Taga Taisha-mae Station, it's a nice waiting room.Apr 24, 2014
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Taga Taisha-mae Station's waiting room also has a showcase of ema prayer tablets from various shrines.Apr 24, 2014
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Best to see my video of the shrine maidens dancing on Jan. 1, 2014.Apr 22, 2014
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Ito-kiri mochi, a famous local confection in Taga, Shiga.Jan 01, 2014
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Preparing gallons upon gallons of amazake (sweet sake, non-alcoholic). 300 yen/cup.Jan 01, 2014
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Amazake (sweet sake, non-alcoholic) for 300 yen/cup to warm you up.Jan 01, 2014
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Most of the snow had melted.Jan 01, 2014
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Kaguraden stage where they performed sacred dances. They would dance on Jan. 1 and 2, in the morning and early afternoon.Jan 01, 2014
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I was waiting for this. Sacred dances by shrine maidens who looked to be high school girls.Jan 01, 2014
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In the morning and early afternoon of January 1 and 2, shrine maidens perform sacred dances (初神楽) on the Noh stage.Jan 01, 2014
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A fire to burn old New Year's decorations and to warm yourself up. Jan 01, 2014
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Talisman salesJan 01, 2014
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Large groups of worshippers pay a fee to attend prayer ceremonies.Jan 01, 2014
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Jan 01, 2014
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Money pit for monetary offerings. A few days from now, we will see happy bank employees counting the money from shrines.Jan 01, 2014
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Hope all or most of their hopes and prayers will come true this new year.Jan 01, 2014
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The shrine name means, "Many Felicitations," hence its popularity during New Year's.Jan 01, 2014
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These people insist on praying front and center of the shrine. Even though they can easily go to the left or right side of the shrine to pray more quickly.Jan 01, 2014
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New Year's Day at a large shrine in Japan is such a spectacle.Jan 01, 2014
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Sorry I couldn't wait in line and went to the front and prayed from the side and instead of front and center.Jan 01, 2014
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Sacred horse. Lot of people took photos of this since 2014 is the Year of the Horse.Jan 01, 2014
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This long line lasted through most of the day. About 490,000 people worshipped here during the first three days of 2014. New Year’s prayers is called Hatsumode.Jan 01, 2014
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This place was also jammed. Water fountain where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth for purification. 手水舎Jan 01, 2014
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Took maybe an hour to get to the shrine. MAPJan 01, 2014
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A long line to the shrine is what awaited. This was a lot more people than Jan. 1, 2005 when I visited the last time.Jan 01, 2014
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Stone bridge, closed due to snow.Jan 01, 2014
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Shrine gate. Go in at left and exit on right side.Jan 01, 2014
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The crowd gets thicker near the shrine's entrance.Jan 01, 2014
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On Jan. 1, 2014, a steady stream of worshippers head for Taga Taisha Shrine.Jan 01, 2014
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Torii in front of the train station. "Otaga-san" is the shrine's nickname.Jan 01, 2014
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Taga Taisha Shrine is a short walk from Taga Taisha-mae Station on the Ohmi Railways Line. It's Shiga's most popular shrine during New Year's.Jan 01, 2014
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Monument in front of the train station.Jan 01, 2014
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Another ceremony was held at 5 pm.May 13, 2009
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Taga Matsuri poster.May 13, 2009
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May 13, 2009
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Bringing offerings to the shrine.May 13, 2009
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He must be three years old. One of the youngest photographers I've seen unassisted. I wish I started that young.May 13, 2009
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May 13, 2009
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Entering Kurusu.May 13, 2009
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It was a nice place though, with clean rivers and lush greenery.May 13, 2009
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Good-looking woman warrior on a horse, Taga Matsuri, Shiga Pref.May 13, 2009
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May 13, 2009
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We are met with a welcoming committee consisting of bell ringers and the beating of a huge taiko drum.May 13, 2009
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Taga Matsuri is held annually on April 22 at Taga Taisha Shrine. It's basically a procession of Shinto priests, children in costume, women warriors, and other people on 40 horses. These photos were taken in 2009.May 13, 2009
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Taga town mayor.May 13, 2009
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Taga MatsuriMay 13, 2009
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Another ceremony was the passing of the Tomi-no-ki tree branch (Japanese Judas tree) at 3:30 pm. 富の木渡し式May 13, 2009
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Both mikoshi also went over the steep arched bridge.May 13, 2009
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The procession first goes on a major highway where one lane is closed to traffic.May 13, 2009
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Meanwhile, back at Taga Taisha, more people and horses wait to join the procession for the afternoon procession to the Otabisho in Amago, a short distance away.May 13, 2009
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CeremonyMay 13, 2009
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Woman warrior on horseback for the Taga Matsuri, Shiga Prefecture. 女武者May 13, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.May 13, 2009
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The morning procession arrives at the shrine.May 13, 2009
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Taga town mayor.May 13, 2009
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With a long bamboo pole, the shrine priest gave a small tree branch to the head horseman. The branch came from a Japanese Judas tree at Totonomiya Shrine.May 13, 2009
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The women warriors and more people on horseback start to join the procession.May 13, 2009
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Mikoshi over the bridge to the shrine.May 13, 2009
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This is the Otabisho at Totonomiya Shrine. The bridge on the left leads to the shrine. We arrived at around 11:40 am. It means we walked for over an hour.May 13, 2009
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Phoenix atop the mikoshi.May 13, 2009
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Shrine maiden holds bells and a branch of leaves. Very charming dance.May 13, 2009
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The procession is ready to head back by 1 pm.May 13, 2009
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Girls dressed as shrine maidens pose for a picture. They will join the afetrnoon procession and perform a sacred dance at the Otabisho.May 13, 2009
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Huge taiko drum made a deep sound echoing throughout the place. These men soon got tired beating the drum and took turns.May 13, 2009
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May 13, 2009
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Totonomiya ShrineMay 13, 2009
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Shrine maiden dancers.May 13, 2009
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Even with all these horses, I didn't see anyone cleaning up after them. Watch your step...May 13, 2009
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It was then a lunch break until 1 pm. I took the time to walk around the area.May 13, 2009
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The went through the main road of Taga.May 13, 2009
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Before 1 pm, people started preparing for the procession back to Taga Taisha.May 13, 2009
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Shrine maidensMay 13, 2009
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The procession arrived at the Otabisho at 2:30 pm.May 13, 2009
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Mikoshi arrives at Taga Taisha and passes by.May 13, 2009
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The children's mikoshi arrive back at Taga Taisha.May 13, 2009
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Both mikoshi went over the shrine's steep, arched, stone bridge.May 13, 2009
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Mikoshi entering Totonomiya Shrine.May 13, 2009
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Mikoshi arrives at the Otabisho, a resting place for a procession.May 13, 2009
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Totonomiya Shrine 調宮神社May 13, 2009
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Kurusu in sight. 栗栖May 13, 2009
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The main mikoshi also passes by the shrine.May 13, 2009
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Woman warriors arrive back too.May 13, 2009
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Leaving Kurusu.May 13, 2009
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They raise the mikoshi high up.May 13, 2009
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At Totonomiya Shrine, they held a Shinto ceremony.May 13, 2009
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They pass by Taga Taisha's rice paddy where they hold the rice-planting festival in June.May 13, 2009
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Banner for Totonomiya Shrine.May 13, 2009
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At 4 pm, the procession headed back to Taga Taisha Shrine, starting with the children's mikoshi.May 13, 2009
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The morning procession leaves Taga Taisha at 10:30 am heading for Totonomiya Shrine in Kurusu. It turned out to be pretty far away. 調宮神社 栗栖May 13, 2009
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Closeup of the crown.May 13, 2009
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A total of about 500 people were in the procession.May 13, 2009
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Two mikoshi portable shrines in front of the shrine await action. MAPMay 13, 2009
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The horses are readied.May 13, 2009
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The afternoon procession is the main one to leave the shrine at 2 pm. These people will join the morning procession when it arrives here at 2 pm.May 13, 2009
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Taga Matsuri paper lantern decorated the homes leading to the shrine.May 13, 2009
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Don't forget the mikoshi.May 13, 2009
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Prayers to the mikoshi portable shrine.May 13, 2009
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They all returned to Taga Taisha.May 13, 2009
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This branch is a symbol of a good harvest.May 13, 2009
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A Shinto ceremomy was held at the shrine at 8:30 am.May 13, 2009
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The young shrine maidens also danced, Taga Matsuri.May 13, 2009
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The Otabisho.May 13, 2009
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At the Otabisho, they held a ceremony with the mikoshi.May 13, 2009
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We are going way deep into the countryside, toward the mountains in Taga.May 13, 2009
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And there they go to the Otabisho.May 13, 2009
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The procession is led by a police car.May 13, 2009
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The main mikoshi leaves Taga Taisha.May 13, 2009
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One horse after another leaves the shrine.May 13, 2009
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Woman warrior on horseback for the Taga Matsuri, Shiga Prefecture. 女武者May 13, 2009
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Taga Matsuri Festival on April 22, Shiga Prefecture. 多賀まつりMay 13, 2009
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The kids wore this cushion-like padding on their backs.May 13, 2009
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Shrine maiden dancers. 舞女May 13, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.May 13, 2009
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The afternoon procession included these two foxy ladies who supposed to be women warriors on horseback. Also see my YouTube video here.May 13, 2009
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Everyone started to arrive.May 13, 2009
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Bell ringing.May 13, 2009
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The bean-throwers for 2009 pose for a group shot with the shrine priests.Feb 15, 2009
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The soybeans were thrown in little paper bags, so we could still pick them up and eat them even if they fell to the ground.Feb 15, 2009
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The bean-throwing was fun, but potentially dangerous with people pushing you around. Taking pictures is pretty risky as well. One mochi hit my camera lens. Fortunately, no damage.Feb 15, 2009
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This person caught quite a few mochi and beans. Also see my YouTube video here.Feb 15, 2009
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The bean-throwers for 2009 pose for a group shot in front of Taga Taisha Shrine.Feb 15, 2009
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I also got hit on the shoulder while taking pictures. You should always look up and see where the mochi and beans are flying.Feb 15, 2009
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There were no celebrity bean-throwers like at famous shrines/temples.Feb 15, 2009
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Throwing mochi. The mochi was bare and dry, hard as a rock. Feb 15, 2009
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All the while, the PA system screamed, Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! (鬼は外! 福は内!)Feb 15, 2009
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A large crowd was on hand to catch the beans and mochi. The bean-throwing is called mame-maki. They held two mame-maki sessions that day, at 11 am and 2 pm. This was at 2 pm.Feb 15, 2009
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Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! (鬼は外! 福は内!)Feb 15, 2009
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Next, were 124 bean throwers who were born in the year of the bull. They wore a red cap.Feb 15, 2009
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Everyone got into position as they held a wooden box full of mochi and beans.Feb 15, 2009
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The shrine priests continued their bean attack on the oni.Feb 15, 2009
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First the shrine priest had to shoot an arrow into the crowd, then the bean throwing began.Feb 15, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.Feb 15, 2009
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The paper streamers seemed like demon repellant. Feb 15, 2009
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On stage, the oni was rained upon with paper streamers.Feb 15, 2009
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The oni costumes were gorgeous and impressive.Feb 15, 2009
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The good guys, in the form of shrine priests, then appeared and started throwing roasted soybeans at the oni demons.Feb 15, 2009
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The oni went back on stage.Feb 15, 2009
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The oni first appeared amid smoke on the Kaguraden stage and danced menacingly. They were from a dance troupe called Inbara Kaguradan in Shimane Prefecture. 鬼の舞は、島根県石見地方の因原(いんばら)神楽団が奉納。Feb 15, 2009
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Taga Taisha Shrine's Setsubun bean throwing on Feb. 3 (at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm) is perhaps Shiga's most prominent with three impressive demons (called oni) on stage acting as the evil oni to be chased away with soybeans.Feb. 3 is the Setsubun Festival at many temples and shrines in Japan. It marks the beginning of spring according to the lunar calendar. So they throw beans at ogre to eliminate the evil of the previous year and bring in good fortune. Taga Taisha had impressive ogre (called oni in Japanese) dancers from Shimane Prefecture to act as the demons to chase away during the festival.Feb 15, 2009
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Then the oni ran on the elevated hanamichi making threats to an amused crowd. MAPFeb 15, 2009
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This was in May, and these birds often make nests in train station and even public restrooms where people often come and go. The people protect them from predators such as crows. And their nests are too high for people to reach.Jun 03, 2008
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Here's the mother flying in to feed her young.Jun 03, 2008
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On the ceiling of Taga Taisha-mae Station, there are sparrow (or are they swallows?) bird nests. This one had chicks waiting for its mother.Jun 03, 2008
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Some kind of new monument in front of the train station.Jun 03, 2008
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For our 500 yen donation, we got a thin towel with a nice design. It is the same one worn by the rice-planting girls. Also see the Yasu Rice-Planting Festival. お田植え祭手ぬぐいJun 03, 2008
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Taga Taisha O-taue Matsuri poster. I enjoyed the festival, but was a little shocked that we had to pay money to see it. There's no notice saying that a donation is required to see the festival. I don't mind paying, but it should be mentioned somewJun 03, 2008
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Muddy pants. Passers by exclaimed, "Look at their feet!"Jun 03, 2008
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The shrine priests and taume girls return to Taga Taisha Shrine.Jun 03, 2008
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This paddy is unfinished, but looks pretty neat.Jun 03, 2008
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This unfinished paddy looks pretty messy. I think they should've finished planting all the paddies before ending the festival. Only one of the four paddies was completed.Jun 03, 2008
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The Taiko Drum troupe from Asahi, Maibara pose for a photo in front of the taiko bridge at the shrine.Jun 03, 2008
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Jun 03, 2008
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The shrine priests and taume girls return to Taga Taisha Shrine.Jun 03, 2008
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Taume rice planting girls leave the rice paddy.Jun 03, 2008
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Washing their hands in a bucket of water.Jun 03, 2008
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Unfinished work.Jun 03, 2008
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Nearing the end. However, they did not finish planting the entire paddy. They ended the festival at around 3 pm even though three of the four paddies were still unfinished.Jun 03, 2008
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The work continues, without the singing and dancing.Jun 03, 2008
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Washing their muddy feet.Jun 03, 2008
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At 3:10 pm, they started to leave the rice paddy.Jun 03, 2008
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