JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Hino 日野町
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Miss Shakunage (Rhododendron)448 views
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Nakano (Hino Castle) in Hino, Shiga Pref. The castle was built in 1534 by Lord Gamou Sadahide (1508-1579).317 views
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Flowers in bloom in early May307 views
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Each float has a decoration on the roof depicting a popular topic during the past year. This is Yamauchi Kazutoyo and wife Chiyo from the NHK Taiga Drama called "Komyo ga Tsuji."299 views"Komyo ga Tsuji" is about a up and coming samurai named Yamauchi Kazutoyo and his wife Chiyo who was from Shiga. The story's main setting is Shiga, and the year-long TV series was broadcast during 2006.
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TV personality Daniel Kahl and a fan at Hino Matsuri, Hino, Shiga Prefecture. ダニエル・カール276 viewsWhat's this guy from Yamagata-ken doing here at the Hino Matsuri in Shiga Pref??

ダニエル・カール
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Hinokawa Dam Park 日野川ダム公園250 views
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May 3, 2006: Hino Matsuri at Umamioka Watamuki Shrine 本祭(馬見岡綿向神社)Map240 views
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Otowa Castle's hilltop center, now a playground.219 viewsIn Hino, Shiga Pref.
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Mini wisteria216 views
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Also see the video at YouTube.201 views
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Held annually during May 2 and 3, the Hino Matsuri is the largest festival in eastern Shiga Pref. In 2006, sixteen ornate floats and three portable shrines were paraded through the streets. It is the spring festival of the Umamioka Watamuki Shrine.197 views
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Special viewing window called "sajiki-mado" at Hino Matsuri. They view the Hino Festival procession from this special window. 桟敷窓196 views
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Torii at Umamioka Watamuki Shrine in Hino, Shiga Pref.192 views
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Hino Hifuri Festival, Shiga.189 views
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Manhole with the symbol of Hino merchant, Shiga Prefecture188 views
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Minami Sanno Matsuri Festival in Hino, Shiga.186 views
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Pulling another float at the Hino Matsuri, Shiga Pref.183 views
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It was the finest day for the Hino Matsuri festival.151 views
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Hino Station platform on the Ohmi Testudo railway. 近江鉄道 日野駅151 views
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May 2: Night Festival 宵祭124 views
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May 2: Night Festival where the floats are lit up at night 宵祭118 views
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One by one, all the floats gather at the shrine.113 views
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Portable shrine (mikoshi) at Nishinomiya Shrine. The mikoshi are carried to this nearby shrine from Watamuki Shrine. 西之宮112 views
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Warehouse for one of the floats110 views
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Ceremony at Nishinomiya Shrine109 views西之宮
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Pulling a float on the festival eve starting at 7 pm.109 views
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Nishinomiya Shrine on May 2, 2006 西之宮106 views
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A sign in front of the storehouse introduces the float in Japanese, English, and Korean.105 views
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Ito Miki, a member of Japan's moguls team at the Turin Winter Olympics, is from Hino.102 views
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Shakunage Gorge is a very pleasant gorge with rhododendron (shakunage) blooming on the slopes during early May. The official name is Kaigake-dani Valley which is part of the Suzuka Quasi-National Park. Shuttle buses are provided from Hino Station.101 views
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Another dashi float is hauled to the shrine. 南大窪町の「南壮社(なんそうしゃ)」96 views
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Storehouse for float96 views
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Steering the float94 views
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Steering the float with a stick stuck under the wheel to nudge it in the desired direction.93 views
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Throwing a torch up the pine tree. Very few people succeeded in landing the torch on the tree (which doesn't burn down).93 views
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The 16 floats start entering the shrine grounds during 9:30 - 11:00 am.92 views
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"Yoisho!" (Heave ho!)92 views
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World Cup soccer 南大窪町の「南壮社(なんそうしゃ)」90 views
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Held for two evenings on Aug. 14-15 during the obon season, people light their torches at Gosha Shrine and proceed to Hibarino park where the torches are thrown up to a large pine tree. The more torches get stuck on the tree, the better the next harvest.88 viewsThis is Hibarino park. The pine tree on the right of the small hill is the target for the torches. This park also serves as the Otabisho during the Hino Festival.
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Omi Hino Merchant House. The former home of Hino merchant Yamanaka Hyouemon was donated to the town in 1981. Now a museum exhibiting the history and artifacts of the Hino merchants. 近江日野商人館87 viewsSmall admission charged. Open 9 am to 4 pm, closed on Mon. and Fri. Close to the center of town.

Address: Okubo 1011, Hino-cho
Phone No.: 0748-52-0007

山中兵右衛門
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Kamiko. 神子 芝田楽 (shibadengaku)85 views
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Shuttle bus going back to Hino Station.85 views
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Note the bus schedule for Hino Station. Leaves only once an hour.85 views
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Wedded trees at Hieda Shrine84 views
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Float named "Kanbusha" 観舞車83 views
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Rear view of floats82 views
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Body toss82 views
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Shrine priest in the procession heading for the Otabisho.81 views
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The three Kamiko.81 views神子
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Side view of a float80 views
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Inside Hieda Shrine 日枝神社80 views
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Photos labeled as "2012" were taken on May 3, 2011, not 2012.80 views
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"Oh Japan" for the World Baseball Classic won by Japan and coached by Oh Sadaharu.79 views
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One of the three mikoshi on its way to the Otabisho.79 views
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Inside Omi Hino Merchant House79 views
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Commemorating Tezuka Osamu's 60th anniversary since his debut as a manga artist. That's Tetsuwan no Atom or Astro Boy.78 views
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Closeup of the steps78 views
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Miss Shakunage (Rhododendron) pose in front of a float. There is a valley nearby famous for rhododendron.78 views
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The floats were very colorful against the greenery.78 views
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The procession head for the Otabisho at 11:30 am. 渡御出発78 views
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The first mikoshi approaches.78 views
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The procession proceeds with people chanting "yare, yare."78 views
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Float named "Jusosha" leave the shrine. 寿雙車78 views
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Heading home. More about Hino here.78 views
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Hino was home to many Omi merchants who plied up and down Japan during the Edo Period to sell and trade their wares. They became quite successful selling medicines, lacquerware, sake, etc. Those from Hino were called Hino shonin (Hino merchants).78 views
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Hieda Shrine 日枝神社78 views
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Ukiyoe77 views
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Float named "Hakkei-kaku" featuring small sculptures of the Eight Views of Omi. Built in 1807. Metal ornamentation as well as painted wood carvings on the front and upper transom depicting the Eight Famous Views of Ōmi... 八景閣77 viewsConstructed circa 1807 (Bunka 4), from Shin-cho. Metal ornamentation as well as painted wood carvings on the front and upper transom depicting the Eight Famous Views of Ōmi create an elaborate adornment to the entryway of this splendid hikiyama.

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Some chidren lead the way for the second mikoshi.77 views
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They exit shrine and head for the Otabisho.77 views
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Mikoshi closeup77 views
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All the while at the shrine, festival music was played.77 views
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A bug76 views
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Ceremony at the shrine76 views
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Horse76 views
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Kamiko receive many gifts.76 views神子
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Ceremony at Otabisho お旅所祭典76 views
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The floats also start to leave the shrine.76 views
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Nakano Castle, also known as Hino Castle, built in 1534 by Lord Gamou Sadahide (1508-1579). In 1582, when Oda Nobunaga was assassinated in Kyoto, Lord Gamo Katahide brought Nobunaga's wife and children from Azuchi Castle to Hino Castle for their safe76 views
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Float from Shimizu-cho with a panel explaining about the float in both English and Japanese. Carved panels depicting the Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety by famed Suwa woodcarver, Tatekawa Washirō and a wave design drawn by Kyōto artist Mankō are..76 viewsConstructed in 1825 (Bunsei 8). Carved panels depicting the Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety by famed Suwa woodcarver, Tatekawa Washirō and a wave design drawn by Kyōto artist Mankō are of great beauty. The gold leaf and lacquer adorning this hikiyama was applied by a Shimizu-chō resident artisan employing the utmost skill and devotion.

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Back of a float75 views
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After the ceremony, the Kamiko lead the procession.75 views
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Mikoshi75 views
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Mikoshi closeup75 views
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Mikoshi closeup75 views
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Sacred dance is performed.75 views
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Procession ready to leave the Otabisho at 3 pm.75 views
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The mikoshi on its way back to Watamuki Shrine.75 views
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One of the mikoshi arrives back at Watamuki Shrine at around 4 pm.75 views
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Mikoshi at the shrine75 views
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Sake containers75 views
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Some laquerware sold in a renovated Hino merchant home converted into a store.75 views
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Tapestry on the back of the Shimizu-cho float.75 views
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Sacred dance is performed during the ceremony.75 views
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Float named Man'ensha. Built in 1860 (Man’en 1). 萬延社74 viewsConstructed in 1860 (Man’en 1). For the first 70 years since its construction, the wood used in this hikiyama was unfinished; but to commemorate the enthronement of Emperor Showa, in 1929 (Showa 4) a black lacquer finish as well as gold leaf and decorative metalwork was added.
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The three "Kamiko." 神子74 views
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Kamiko74 views神子
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The second mikoshi makes its way through.74 views
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Refreshments served. On the left is the unique sajiki-mado window for viewing the festival.74 views
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The three mikoshi at the Otabisho.74 views
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The three mikoshi.74 views
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A mikoshi on its way to the shrine.74 views
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Two of the mikoshi already at the Otabisho.73 views
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Phoenix atop a mikoshi73 views
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The third mikoshi arrives.73 views
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At 6:00 pm, the procession starts to leave the shrine.73 views
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Entrance to Omi Hino Merchant House. Download the museum's English pamphlet here. Map73 views近江日野商人館
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Lacquerware sold by Hino merchants73 views近江日野商人館
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The procession reaches the Otabisho at 12:30 pm.72 views
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Ceremony at Otabisho72 views
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The second mikoshi leaves.72 views
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Enjoying a free ride home.72 views
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Inside Omi Hino Merchant House72 views
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One float (from Shimizu-cho) provided an explanation about the float in English.72 views
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The first of three portable shrines leave the shrine in a procession for the Otabisho resting place across town.72 views
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Break71 views
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Inside Omi Hino Merchant House71 views近江日野商人館
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Rikutoku float from Shimizu-cho arrives at the shrine.71 views
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Entrance to Hibarino Otabisho ひばり野 お旅所70 views
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The three mikoshi start to leave the Otabisho.70 views
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Inside Omi Hino Merchant House70 views
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Very little remains of Otowa castle originally built by Lord Gamou Sadahide. Two battles took place here in 1496 and 1503. Road to Otowa Castle on the hill seen on the left.70 views
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Minami Sanno Matsuri Festival is held annually on April 4 by Hieda Jinja Shrine in Okubo and Seon (大窪、清雲). 南山王の祭 Map70 views
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The floats leave the shrine one after another.69 views
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This man holds multiple torches.69 views
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A room inside a renovated Hino merchant home.69 views
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People line up to pray at the shrine.67 views
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Since this was soon after 3/11 Tohoku disasters, a black and white curtain (used for mourning) was put up.67 views
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Inside Omi Hino Merchant House66 views
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Medicine66 views
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Clothing worn by Hino merchants66 views
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A Shinto ceremony is held in front of the three portable shrines.66 views
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The castle was abandoned in 1597. Only a few stone walls and shrines remain adjacent to Hinokawa Dam. This is one entrance to Nakano Castle. Map65 views
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My video of Hino Matsuri on May 3, 2011.65 views
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