JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.

Image search results - "ebisu"
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Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is dedicated to Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, representing business prosperity. On Jan. 9-11 (centering on the 10th), the shrine holds one of Japan's largest Toka Ebisu festivals to pray for good business. The festival is perhaps Japan's most commercial festival where souvenirs and trinkets for business prosperity are sold. Photo: The road from the subway station to the shrine is decorated.
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Path near the shrine is filled with street stalls selling Ebisu decorations and charms.
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Ebisu decorations
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Torii and entrance to Imamiya Ebisu Shrine
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Imamiya Ebisu Shrine
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Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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A giant umbrella serves as the roof.
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Giving out free bamboo branches under the giant umbrella.
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Here you go...
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The small bamboo branches festoon the huge crowd on Jan. 10.
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Replenishing the supply of bamboo branches.
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Money pit
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The shrine rakes in the money on its most important day of the year, Jan. 10.
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Who says money can't buy happiness?
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New Year's decorations trashed at the shrine to be burned.
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Hauling away the old New Year's decorations.
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People line up to decorate their free bamboo branches with various lucky decorations.
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Empty branches waiting for all the trimmings (at a price).
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Shrine maidens happily sell and attach lucky decorations on the branches.
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Higashi-mon east gate
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2007 is the Year of the Boar, decoration created by over 500 students at a local elementary and junior high school.
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Higashi-mon east gate
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Shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes.
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Shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes.
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Good-looking shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes.
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Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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Even gaijin shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes. Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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Even gaijin shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes. Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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Fully-loaded "lucky rake."
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Sacred dance performed at cost.
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More stalls behind the shrine.
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Omikuji fortune paper strips for sale at 200 yen.
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Omikuji fortune paper strips
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Good Luck Palanquin procession on Jan. 10. They are entering the shrine's East Gate. 宝恵駕籠
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Geisha on palanquin.
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The procession includes geisha and other celebrities.
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Even a bunraku puppet walks in the parade.
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Kimono-clad beauties, winners of some Miss contest.
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Fuku-musume or Lucky Maidens
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Fuku-musume or Lucky Maiden
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Miss Ebisu-bashi
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The Fuku-musume or Lucky Maidens are all nice-looking.
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Geisha
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Fuku-musume or Lucky Maidens
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Miss Ebisu-bashi Runner-up
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Miss Ebisu-bashi Runner-up
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Shinsaibashi Top Lady
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Start of the procession's return trip from the shrine.とんぼりリバーウォーク→大和屋→道頓堀東映→B1角座(10:00)→松竹座→戎橋橋詰→千日前国際劇場→吉本会館→今宮戎神社(12:10頃)→なんばCITY→高島屋→大丸→大和屋
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Ebisu on a palanquin.
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Geisha
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Geisha on a palanquin
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Geisha on a palanquin, Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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Cart for the Lucky Maiden
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Fuku-musume Lucky Maiden
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Slim-looking Ebisu
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Cart for Miss Ebisu-bashi
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Miss Ebisu-bashi
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Miss Ebisu-bashi, Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Jinja, Osaka
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Shinsaibashi Top Lady cart
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Shinsaibashi Top Lady
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Another Shinsaibashi Top Lady
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People patting a lucky mirror?
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Never-ending sales pitch on Toka Ebisu Day. All these good-looking girls make you wanna buy something.
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The shrine is surrounded by Ebisu street stalls.
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Way to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine during Toka Ebisu as seen from Shijo.
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Food stalls crowd the path to shrine.
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Originally established in 1202, Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is one of Japan's three major Ebisu shrines, besides Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka and Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Toka Ebisu decorations.
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Torii and entrance to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine.
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Shrine ahead
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People line up and inch their way to the shrine to offer prayers.
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Kyoto Ebisu Shrine on its busiest day of the year.
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As people ring the bell and pray for prosperity amid the current recession, the shrine rakes in the money on its most important day of the year, Jan. 10.
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Praying at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine.
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Big tuna fish
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Big tuna fish as an offering.
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Shrine offerings
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Last year's Toka Ebisu decorations are brought to the shrine and trashed.
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Last year's Toka Ebisu decorations are brought to the shrine and trashed.
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People line up for bamboo branches.
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An actress dressed almost like a geisha is on hand to give bamboo branches paid for by worshippers. Notice the shrine maiden dancing in the back to bless the branches.
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Bamboo branch given by an actress. I wondered why the shrine does not hire a real geisha/geiko or maiko to hand out the bamboo branches. (Geisha district Miyagawa-cho is right around the corner.)
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Shrine maidens happily sell and attach lucky decorations on the branches.
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Shrine maidens happily sell and attach lucky decorations on the branches.
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Shrine maidens happily sell and attach lucky decorations on the branches.
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Shrine maiden selling Ebisu souvenirs.
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Ebisu amulets.
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Shrine ema tablets.
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Omikuji fortune paper strips.
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On the way out, knock on this wall for prosperity.
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On the way out, knock on this wall for prosperity.
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Barrels of sake displayed for Toka Ebisu inside Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Exiting Hanshin Nishinomiya Station on Jan 10, 2011.
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Ebessan-suji road going to Nishinomiya Jinja Shrine.
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Entering Nishinomiya Shrine at the Omote Daimon Gate, usually called Akamon Gate. 西宮神社表大門 通称赤門
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Along the way, there was a place where you could throw away your old Ebisu decorations.
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People on the left are leaving the shrine, while people on the right are heading for the shrine. About a million people visit Nishinomiya Shrine during Jan. 9-11.
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It's a stop-and-go process.
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But we got nearer and nearer so it wasn't so bad and it wasn't taking forever.
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Wash basin to purify yourself. Few people stopped here.
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Haiden hall up ahead. Behind it is the Honden main hall.
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Nishinomiya Shrine worships a god named Hiruko (蛭子), also known as Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. Ebisu is regarded as the god of fishermen and good fortune depicted as a rotund, bald man holding a tai sea bream.
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Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall. It took about 30 min. to get here from Akamon Gate.
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On the left was a separate entrance here to see the giant tuna (maguro).
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Entering the Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall.
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Something unique is this upside down kadomatsu decoration flanking Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall.
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About the upside down kadomatsu.
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They also waved sacred staffs over our heads as we entered the Haiden.
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After passing through the Haiden, there's the Honden main worship hall, the shrine's main building.
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The Honden had this narrow but long offertory box. Surprisingly small for a huge occasion as this.
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They also had a giant maguro tuna fish on display as an offering to the shrine from a fishing cooperative.
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The tuna is 2.9 meters long weighing 280 kg. About the same as two sumo wrestlers.
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The tradition is to stick on coins on the tuna.
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By this time, the tuna was dry and solid as a rock. It was impossible to stick on more coins.
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Coins stuck on giant tune at Nishinomiya Shrine Toka Ebisu.
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They stuffed coins in every crack and crevice of the fish. I wonder who's gonna eat the fish afterward.
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Where the tail is cut off.
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Fruits and vegetable offerings from the local produce cooperative.
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Offering of octopus (tako).
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Scene after you exit the Honden.
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Exiting the Honden.
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Selling omikuji fortunes.
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Nishinomiya Shrine's 300-yen omikuji comes with a cute tai (sea bream).
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Ema tablets.
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Ema tablets at Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Tai sea bream display case.
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Tai sea bream pair.
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About the tai sea bream.
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Smaller shrines in Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Homusubi Shrine
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About Homusubi Shrine.
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Hyakudayu Shrine
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About Hyakudayu Shrine.
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Proceed further to see more vendors.
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Sacred dancer.
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Pay a fee to enter this little hall to be blessed with a sacred dance.
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Fuku-zasa tree branches for prosperity and good fortune sold here.
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Fuku-zasa branches cost 1000 or 3000 yen.
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Nishinomiya Shrine maiden selling Fuku-zasa tree branches for Toka Ebisu. I was disappointed that the branches were plastic and all the decorations were already on them.
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At Osaka's Imamiya Shrine (another big Ebisu shrine), the tree branches are real and you can choose which decorations to put on it.
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Compared to Imamiya Shrine, they weren't so busy selling fuku-zasa branches.
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Shrine maidens selling fuku-sasa branches at Nishinomiya Shrine's Toka Ebisu.
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Here's the cheap 100-yen omikuji line, much longer than the one for the 300-yen omikuji.
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The shrine also had numerous stalls selling Ebisu decorations.
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Ebisu decorations
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Video of Toka Ebisu at Nishinomiya Shrine, Hyogo.
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Way home
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Omikuji
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Shinmei Shrine
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Leaving the shrine was on a narrow, long path.
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House of Horros amusement even.
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People on the left are heading for the shrine, while people on the right are leaving.
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Exiting Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Very narrow path back to the station.
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Way to Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Toka Ebisu ad inside Hanshin Line train.
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Toka Ebisu banner inside Umeda Station.
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Hokoku Shrine holds Toka Ebisu Festival on Jan. 9-11. The main day is Jan. 10 when they hold a parade.
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Road to Hokoku Shrine, a short walk from JR Nagahama Station.
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Dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Hokoku Shrine is geared for business prosperity and success in life.
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Ebisu is one of the seven gods of good fortune. MAP
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For Toka Ebisu, the shrine has many booths selling Toka Ebisu decorations that supposed to bring business prosperity.
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Selling decorations for Toka Ebisu
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Selling decorations for Toka Ebisu.
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Hokoku Shrine, Nagahama, Shiga
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Inside Hokuku Shrine.
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Inside the shrine
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Old New Year's decorations to be burned.
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Old New Year's decorations to be burned
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Old New Year's decorations to be burned.
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Toka Ebisu maidens participating in the Toka Ebisu parade on Jan. 10.
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Shrine maidens
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Giant sea bream float for Toka Ebisu
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They left the shrine and paraded around central Nagahama.
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Good luck maidens ride in the parade
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