JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Koto-ku 江東区
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Another view from the top of the bridge in the good old days. They don't bloom like this anymore...1041 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine wisteria and taiko-bashi bridge. Taiko-bashi is an arch bridge.669 views
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View from top of bridge years ago. The shrine has two "taiko-bashi" arch bridges. This is the view from the top of the first one soon after you pass under the torii.622 views
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Shot in 2003.614 views
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Every three years (2017, 2020, 2023, 2026, etc.), the full-scale version of this festival is held in mid-Aug. The festival's last day is the climax with this procession of over 50 portable shrines. Led by this banner which reads Tomioka Hachimangu.437 views
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First bridge and azaleas389 views
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Kiba Park with Kiba Kakunori sign. Traditional folk performances are held on the same day as Koto Ward's Citizen's Festival in mid-Oct. So the park is quite crowded.367 views
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Another view from the top of the bridge years ago. Sadly, it doesn't bloom like this anymore.357 views1 comments
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Another shot taken in the good old days. Doesn't bloom like this anymore. The next photo shows what it looks like today.350 views
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Path to the shrine. After you cross the bridge, there's a narrow path to the shrine, decorated by wisteria on both sides. Very crowded, but not unbearable.311 views
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Tekomai geisha. Their costume is colorful and partially masculine with trousers instead of skirts. Their right shoulder is "exposed" to show a peony flower (botan) design. They carry a red paper lantern imprinted with their names.301 views
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.294 views
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Old taiko-bashi bridge. This is the first arch bridge you cross. Shot in 1997. The bridges had steps made of wood. Now both bridges are made of concrete with concrete steps. The paint color is also more red.283 views
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Azaleas also bloom around the same time as wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine. Both flowers symbolize Golden Week which is a string of holidays in late April and early May, serving as spring vacation for many workers.280 views
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Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine278 views
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This is an old, hand-tinted postcard of Kameido Tenmangu Shrine from the early 20th century. It mimics the woodblock print.274 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a short walk from JR Kameido Station. Small banners reading "Kameido Plum Blossom Festival" show the way to the shrine.269 views
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Map of Basho's travels. 267 viewsAlso see photos of Ogaki where Basho ended his journey.
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The shrine's happi coat has a design for the character "Hachi" (for Hachimangu) consisting of two pigeons. Pigeons are regarded as the messengers of the deity worshipped at Hachimangu shrines in Japan.263 views
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Road to the Fukagawa-Edo Museum, near Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station.262 views
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View from top of bridge in 2005. After 1997 or so, the flowers do not bloom as thickly as before.255 views
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Tekomai geisha. They existed since the Edo Period. They served as side entertainment at festivals. They only sing traditional chant-like songs called kiyari. 手古舞250 views
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Statue of Matsuo Basho, haiku poet. Koto-ku, Tokyo249 views
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Main street with shops.247 views
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When the wisteria is in bloom, the shrine gets very crowded, especially on weekends. The alley leading to the shrine is also quite narrow.242 views
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Statue of Matsuo Basho, haiku poet. Koto-ku, Tokyo233 views
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Second taiko-bashi bridge in 2003. Notice how there are much less flowers along the edge of the pond. Also notice that the bridge has been rebuilt. It is now concrete painted fire-engine red.231 viewsThe old bridge was wooden with faded vermillion paint. I don't like this new bridge paint color.
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Dramatic display of mikoshi maneuvers228 views
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.226 views
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This troupe of 25 local women preserve a traditional art of Edo. They attend regular singing practice led by an elderly woman who was an authentic tekomai in her day.225 views
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Second taiko-bashi bridge in 1997. You can see the second arch bridge which is right before the shrine hall. Compare this picture with the next one.222 views
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As one man lies at the bottom, everything is piled up on him. They even swayed the boat.215 views
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Splash you. This is a day when kids can be mean to grown-ups. This little girl kept filling up her bowl and ran around splashing some unlucky person.214 viewsI hope that's her school teacher.
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Road to the shrine from Kameido Station. This main road from Kameido Station is closed on weekends. The shrine is accessible from Kameido Station the the JR Sobu Line.213 views
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The Usokae Festival is held every January at the Kameido Tenmangu (Tenjin) Shrine. "Uso" means bullfinch, and "kae" means to change. The bullfinch is a symbol of good luck, and uso can also mean "lie." 212 viewsPeople replace their wooden uso dolls believing that the previous year's bad luck was a lie, to be exchanged for good luck in the new year with the new uso doll.
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.211 views
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Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri, mizu-kake207 views
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River boat taxi207 views
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Splashing water on a mikoshi. Fukagawa Hachiman Festival, Tokyo. See the water truck video at YouTube.206 views
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Site of Basho-an Hut, now a small garden with a statue of Basho overlooking the Sumida River. 芭蕉庵史跡展望庭園206 views
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The mikoshi is raised high as they all bathe in water. Taking photos like this one requires adequate water protection of your camera and lens.205 views
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Then you see a dramatic bird's eye view of the recreated neighborhood of Sagacho, Fukagawa. The entire neighborhood is indoors.205 views
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Vegetable seller. 八百屋の八百新204 views
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Another view from the top of the bridge years ago.203 views
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Cross section of a typical Nagaya longhouse apartment. It was a single room whose size was about 6 tatami mats.203 views
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Statue of Basho sitting at the site of Saito-an house before departing for the Tohoku region. 採茶庵跡203 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Tokyo Sky Tree.203 views
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The lighting inside the museum also changes to reflect the time of day. This is night time.202 views
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Statue of Basho sitting at the site of Saito-an house. 採茶庵跡200 views
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Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, Honden worship hall. Koto-ku, Tokyo 富岡八幡宮 本殿200 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine's main worship hall.199 views
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Cat on the roof. Meow is what you first hear in the museum. Its name is "Mamesuke." Actually a robot cat whose head can move up and down.199 views
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Shrine priest on horseback. The start of one of Tokyo's Big Three Festivals. These photos show the festival's climax on the last day of the festival when over 50 portable shrines are paraded along the streets amid splashing water. It is the Rengo 195 views
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Onegaishimasu! お願いします!192 views
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Hai, OK (ha-ha!).190 views
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Fire watchtower on the left, and boat operator's house on the right. 船宿升田屋と相模屋190 views
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Also see the video at YouTube.188 views
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Held every autumn, the Chrysanthemum Festival (Kiku Matsuri) at Kameido Tenjin Shrine displays many exotic and pretty varieties of this flower in November.187 views
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Old taiko-bashi bridge. You can see how crowded the bridge can get.186 views
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Facing Eitai-dori road, the main entrance to Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine. The original shrine fronted the ocean, but landfills over the centuries have put the shrine further away from shore.183 views
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The tekomai geisha enter the shrine.181 views
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In front of the fire watchtower is this open area designed as a fire break to prevent any fires from spreading further. It is also a gathering place with food stalls.179 views
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Machikido town gate made of wood. This gate marked the boundary between towns. It could also be closed. 町木戸177 views
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Fukagawa-Edo Museum175 views
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A real crowd pleaser.173 views
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After you enter the exhibition area, first you see drawings of famous people from Fukagawa.172 views
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Back room of the vegetable seller.172 views
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Cross section of a typical Nagaya longhouse apartment. The saw on the wall indicates that the resident was a log cutter. The area was close to Kiba where they processed logs.170 views
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Kiba Kiyari Nembutsu. They hold and rotate a giant rosary while chanting. 木場の木遣念仏169 views
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Day time169 views
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Video theater169 views
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Rice storehouse168 views
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Statue of Matsuo Basho.168 views
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The tekomai geisha enter Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.167 views
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Exhibition room166 views
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Boat operator's house 船宿升田屋と相模屋165 views
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Rice vendor. A small, wooden square box was used to measure the volume of rice to sell to a customer. 舂米屋職人163 views
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Nagaya longhouse163 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Tokyo Sky Tree.161 views
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Bird159 views
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The mikoshi are splashed with water in whichever way possible. This is in the middle of summer, so it's a good way to cool off.156 views
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Wakasu Park juts out into Tokyo Bay as reclaimed land, now mostly a golf course and recreational park with a nice cycling path.156 views
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They have flower hats, but I've never seen them wear it on their heads.155 views
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They sing and chant while walking slowly.154 views
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Standard uniform of portable shrine bearers (for both men and women).153 viewsThe headband may be tied at the front or back of the head. It may also be tied on the head like a bonnet. There is a variety of ways of tying the headband.

The happi coat bears the name of the parish or district the person belongs to. The same name is displayed on the respective portable shrine. The shorts are white and skintight. Worn by both men and women. Also called Han-momo or Han-momohiki. The white tabi (sock-like shoe) has a rubber sole.
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Tekomai geisha at Eitai-bashi153 views
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Fukagawa Chikara-mochi is traditional entertainment spawned by warehouse workers in Sagacho (near Kiba), Tokyo during the Edo Period.153 views
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They do not get water splashed.152 views
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Cross section of a typical Nagaya longhouse apartment.151 views
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Poster151 views
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150 views
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Monument for usokae.150 views
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Entrance to Kiyosumi Teien Gardens. Admission 150 yen.149 views
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Tekomai geisha148 views
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River boat taxi147 views
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Omiko shrine maidens. On the previous day during the Sacred Carriage Procession, they performed sacred dances on a truck. お巫女146 views
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Haiku poem by Basho displayed along Sumida River145 views
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The tekomai geisha arrives at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.144 views
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The tekomai geisha enter the shrine.143 views
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Communal toilet143 views
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Bales of rice inside the rice storehouse.142 views
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Basho Memorial Museum displays a replica of the costume worn by Basho.142 views
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This is early in the morning when the 54 portable shrines who had gathered in front of the shrine depart for the procession one after another.138 views
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Clothes line for laundry.137 views
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Usokae stall. The uosokae dolls come in various sizes, look pretty much the same.133 views
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.133 views
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Kiba Kakunori Monument for square log rolling 角乗り碑132 views
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A pair of giant usokae dolls flank the entrance to the main worship hall.131 views
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Each mikoshi is preceded by a row of women carrying lanterns and wands. Also see the video at YouTube130 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Tokyo Sky Tree.130 views
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Tokyo Skytree and the first taiko bridge.128 views
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During the festival, stage performances are held.127 views
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People in happi coats carry the mikoshi while shouting "Wasshoi, wasshoi!"127 views
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White heron (shirasagi) hanging out on the pond.127 views
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Almost 1,000 kg is on this man below. This stunts were also performed at Ueno Park for US President Ulysses S. Grant when he visited Japan in 1879 after his term ended.126 views
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Statue of Basho. Kiyosubashi Bridge and Sumida River in the background.124 views
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Photogenic shot of plum blossoms and a taiko bridge at Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo.124 views
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Tokyo Skytree and azalea and wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.124 views
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Tokyo Skytree and wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.123 views
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Bullfinch exchange. The person puts her old bullfinch on the rack and prays.122 views
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Kiba Kakunori Monument for square log rolling 角乗り碑121 views
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Tokyo Skytree and azalea and wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.121 views
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As the mikoshi depart, there is some entertainment at the Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.120 views
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Crossing Kiyosu-bashi Bridge120 views
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Torii gate on the east side120 views
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"Hey Ho, Let's Go!"119 views
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Preparing for the finale.119 views
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.119 views
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Tokyo Skyrree at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.118 views
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Site of Basho-an Hut at the mouth of the Onagigawa River where it meets the Sumida River.116 views
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In front of Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine on Eitai-dori road.115 views
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White and red plum blossoms and the torii gate at Kameido Tenjn Shrine.115 views
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It soon snagged a baby carp from the pond. Poor innocent fish. It must be traumatic to be caught in a bird's beak and be swallowed whole.115 views
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Usokae stall114 views
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Taiko drummers at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.113 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine also has many turtles in the pond. All these years, I thought they were cute. But I recently found out that these turtles are actually invasive species called red-eared slider or red-eared terrapin.113 viewsPopular as pets when they are small.
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This mikoshi is being carried by all women, already soaked to the bone. They carry the mikoshi flat on their shoulders. This is called "Hira katsugi," literally "flat carrying."112 viewsThere are four basic methods of carrying a portable shrine. This is the most basic method where they carry it flat on their shoulders. This is called "Hira katsugi," literally "flat carrying."
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Photogenic shot of plum blossoms and a taiko bridge at Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo.112 views
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The right side of the worship hall is also lined with plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.112 views
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People then go to the bullfinch stall on the left of the main worship hall.111 views
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Also see the video at YouTube111 views
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The portable shrines are paraded through a route which will take them almost all day to complete, from 7:30 am to 3 pm.111 views
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Kiyosu-bashi Bridge over the Sumida River, Important Cultural Property 清洲橋 国の重要文化財111 views
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Tokyo Sky Tree and plum blossoms at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.111 views
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Crossing Kiyosu-bashi Bridge. They chant "wasshoi wasshoi!" as they carry the mikoshi. 清洲橋110 views
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Flowery backdrop for picture-taking.110 views
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Bonsai-like chrysanthemum110 views
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In front of the shrine, a shrine priest blesses each portable shrine as it departs to join the procession.109 views
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Crossing Kiyosu-bashi Bridge over Sumida River.109 views
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Raising the mikoshi on Kiyosu-bashi Bridge109 views
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Torii and wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo109 views
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Crossing Kiyosu-bashi Bridge108 views
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The first taiko bridge at Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo108 views
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Stone lantern107 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo107 views
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Wet women106 views
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7-year-old girl in kimono on the bridge. Many kids in kimono visit shrines in Nov. when they reach age 3 (girls), 5 (boys), or 7 (girls).106 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine torii and taiko bridge with wisteria.106 views
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Water splashing truck near Kiyosu-bashi Bridge105 views
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亀戸天神菊まつり105 views
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Statue of Basho. A short walk away is the Basho Memorial Museum.105 views
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Small statue of Basho in Basho Memorial Museum105 views
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Sendaibori, Koto-ku, Tokyo. Mother and child statue.105 views
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Inside Basho Memorial Museum. Open 9:30 am - 5:00 pm.104 views
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Heron stalking fish in the pond at Kameido Tenjin Shrine.104 views
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Tekomai geisha at Eitaibashi103 views
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Crossing over Eitai-bashi Bridge. 永代橋102 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine torii and wisteria102 views
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Wisteria and Tokyo Skytree at night.102 views
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With raised arms, this is one way to carry the mikoshi.101 views
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Crossing Kiyosu-bashi Bridge101 views
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Phoenix atop a portable shrine.101 views
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A portable shrine crosses Eitai-bashi Bridge.101 views
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A portable shrine crosses Eitai-bashi Bridge.101 views
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After crossing Eitai-bashi Bridge, the portable shrines headed for the main stretch on Eitai-dori avenue already filled with people. The wettest and most crowded part of the festival is held along this one kilometer of road between the bridge and shrine.101 views
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Petals need support101 views
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Sculpure at Sendaibori Park, Koto-ku. Tokyo101 views
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Tekomai geisha on Eitai-dori road, entering Koto Ward100 views
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A fire hose. The local fire department with a fire hose on Eitai-dori avenue.100 views
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Stone pagoda on island named Matsushima100 views
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Looks like they are on fire100 views
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Rock excavated in this area.100 views
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A shop's shutter art near Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Tokyo100 views
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A large truck filled with water with people using buckets to splash water in rapid succession.99 views
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In front of the water truck. Soon to be filled with people and a portable shrine.99 views
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Every time, the water hoses are at the same location.98 views
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View from behind the "water truck." This goes on for about 15 seconds. The truck is refilled with a fire hose. All in the name of purification.98 views
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The kiku can be shaped and trimmed in fantastic ways. Very nice when you go and see them during shichi-go-san in Nov. when 7-year-old and 3-year-old girls and 5-year-old boys come to shrine in kimono.98 views
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Kameido Tenjin Shrine98 views
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Unusual98 views
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That's why most Tenmangu/Tenjin shrines have plum blossoms. Kameido Tenjin Shrine flanked with red and white plum blossoms in March.98 views
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Kameido Tenjin (Tenmangu) Shrine Wisteria Festival is held in late April to early May. Entrance to Kameido Tenjin Shrine.98 views
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Sarue Onshi Park has azalea, sakura cherry blossoms, and autumn leaves. Near Sumiyoshi Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line subway and Kinshicho Station.98 views
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Usokae stall97 views
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A horde of people follow each portable shrine.97 views
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Main O-torii gate. The shrine holds various ceremonies and events including an antique flea market. The Fukagawa Hachiman Festival is its most famous festival held annually. The Hon-matsuri full-scale version held every three years (2008, 2011, 2014, etc.96 views
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Using a water hose is an efficient way to get people wet. But see what the big boys use..95 views
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Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine lit up in the evening.95 views
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Tekomai geisha cross Eitai-bashi Bridge to enter Koto Ward along Eitai-dori.94 views
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During the wisteria festival, they hold various entertainment on stage.94 views
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View from the shrine's worship hall.94 views
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Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine lit up in the evening.94 views
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For some reason, it's fun to see people get wet...93 views
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Chrysanthemum peacock93 views
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Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, Honden worship hall93 views
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Shrine grounds include a kaguraden dance stage.93 views
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Wet face92 views
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During a break, two kids get water.92 views
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Getting wet upside down might be an extra thrill...92 views
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Site of Saito-an Hut which was a 2nd house of Sugiyama Sanpu, one of Basho's disciples. 採茶庵跡92 views
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