JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Hachioji 八王子市
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Costume gals. Even these girls walked on the fire.890 views

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Dai-hiwatari Festival, Mt. Takao, Tokyo292 views
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Hiwatari fire-crossing festival, Mt. Takao, Tokyo282 views
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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...273 viewsThis 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.265 views
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Before and after walking over the fire, they stick their feet into a pile of salt.260 views
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Yamabushi--mountain ascetic priests. They carried a conch-shell-like instrument.253 views
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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. 252 views
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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 Te243 views
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Head priest234 views
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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.231 views
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Everyone crosses barefoot, so we took off our shoes as we approached the fire crossing.173 views
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Back at the Yakuoin temple which belongs to the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. 薬王院171 views
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Tekomai at Hachioji Matsuri, Tokyo.166 views
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After the priests, the general public is invited to stand in line and cross the fire for free.155 views
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Hachioji Matsuri. Also see my video at YouTube.153 views
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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142 views
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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.137 views
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Taiko drummer at Hachioji Matsuri. She was very good.134 views
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This float had a group of tekomai women, Hachioji Matsuri.134 views
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Women in yukata watching the Hachioji Matsuri.134 views
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First the priests walked on the fire.132 views
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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.131 views
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First we pass through a gauntlet of chanters.128 views
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Priests parade back to temple.127 views
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Very crowded at Hachioji Matsuri.127 views
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She was doing it to music. Hachioji Matsuri.126 views
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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.125 views
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He shoots an arrow into the pile from the four corners.124 views
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She was tossing out these paper things to the crowd.123 views
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This long torch will be used to ignite the pile.122 views
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Walking on fire122 views
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Then we stick our feet in salt.122 views
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Pulling a float at Hachioji Matsuri.122 views
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My YouTube video of the Hachioji Matsuri in 2009.120 views
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Blessing the path118 views
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Shishimai lion dance, Hachioji Matsuri.117 views
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This priest splashed the boiling contents of this pot over himself.116 views
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Divine arrow to ward off any life-threatening devils. The festival is executed by the mountain ascetic priests called yamabushi.114 views
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Raking the fire. They are making the footpath for fire walkers.114 views
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Poster for Hachioji Matsuri in 2009.113 views
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Long line: It took us over 30 minutes to reach the fire.109 views
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Raking the fire108 views
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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.108 views
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End of the line. It reads, "Saikobi."108 views
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The pile is first ignited from two sides.104 views
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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.96 views
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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.83 views
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Coming down on Yu Road.81 views
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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. 2009.79 views
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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. 78 views
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Koshu Kaido is filled with people during the mikoshi procession.77 views
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Minyo Nagashi folk dancing at Hachioji Matsuri, Tokyo.73 views
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JR Hachioji Station is a very busy train station.73 views
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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).72 views
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All-female mikoshi bearers.72 views
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Yu Road is a shopping road.70 views
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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.70 views
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Mikoshi bearers70 views
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A float procession is ready to walk down Yu Road at 5 pm.69 views
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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. 68 views
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The floats have a masked person dancing as a fox, etc. They are messengers of the gods.68 views
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Geisha-like musicians, playing the samisen.67 views
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On the Koshu Kaido main road, they started a mikoshi (portable shrine) procession from 5 pm on the third day.66 views
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Flute players66 views
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The second day also has a taiko drumming contest for the Kanto region.65 views
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Earlier during the third day, they had Shishimai lion dances by this pair of lions displayed here.65 views
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After the buttsuke meeting, the floats disband into the street.65 views
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Taiko drummer at Hachioji Matsuri.64 views
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A girl twirling a decorative pole.64 views
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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64 views
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White fox64 views
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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64 views
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Sometimes two floats would meet up again and perform together.63 views
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One traditional float featuring dolls.63 views
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Tekomai63 views
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One float had a group of geisha-like musicians.63 views
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Also see my video at YouTube.60 views
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They pulled the floats up and down the main road.59 views
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Two floats in Kami-chiku.58 views
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Another float procession.57 views
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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.56 views
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There are always people riding on the roof of the floats.56 views
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Finally, the floats disbanded as they left one by one.55 views
 
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