Kanda Matsuri Festival 2013 in Tokyo
Disclaimer: This post is in blog diary format. My new concept is to post all (presentable) pics we take during the day and add comments to that, so you guys can see how our (mainly sightseeing) days are like. The other days we are just sitting at home taking care of our laptops, really. I still have many topic-posts in stock and so you will see a mixture until its just day by day.
Transitions aren’t easy. And maybe it’s not going to be that incredibly different.
May 12th, 2013.
After setting off our last guest for the month (I think!), we went out to see the Kanda Matsuri Festival which is one of Tokyo’s biggest traditional festivals. And free.
Location: Kanda Shrine, 2-16-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 10 min from Akihabara station
Closed off TV areas at the shrine and helicopters in the air to cover the ceremonies.
The festival has had a four year break due to the 3.11 earthquake and cancellation of the event in 2011. It was eve more special to watch as it only takes place every odd year.
The place was accordingly packed, but it never felt claustrophobic. Japanese safety measures know how to traffic large crowds.
There wers so many ceremonial rituals to watch.
All centered around the shrine.
The modern architecture of Tokyo is framing the shrine, which makes for an interesting sight.
The highlight was to watch hundreds of traditionally dressed up people carrying mikoshi – portable wooden shrines – following Shinto priests.
What a scramble.
The carriers were wearing special dress, head bands and shoes separating the big toe.
Here they are, the awesome running shoes. Rickshaw runners have the same gear with slightly more muscles on their thighs. You can rent a rickshaw for a costly ride of 10 to 30 minutes through the city (for example in Asakusa at the Sensoji shrine). By Japanese standards two will fit into one rickshaw seat.
The girls looked gorgeous.
I wonder if that is their real hair or if they are wearing a traditional fashion wig.
The girls looked incredibly cute with their hats.
The men had fan.
More men with fan.
Men also had hats.
Not sure about cute but interesting.
Some men didn’t care about their undergarments too much.
The sun was burning. It was just below 30 C. Tomek had a headband around his neck to avoid sunburns. I can feel summer coming!
Locals flood the Kanda Shrine area.
There were about a hundred mikoshi being carried through the streets.
Mikoshi are heavy.
Each group has their dress code.
Each mikoshi is different.
Did I say I have pictures of all hundred mikoshi…
It felt a bit like carnival in Cologne – without the throwing of sweets.
No sweets meant going for a delish curry nearby, in one of our favourite Japanese fast food chains called Coco Ichibanya. It is often cheaper to go out than cook at home in Tokyo and sometimes you get a fan.
This girl had a slightly bigger example.
Of course there was also food on site of the shrine.
Tako means octopus. I can read (basic) Hiragana! (Which only leaves Katakana and Kanji to master Japanese.)
Big broth of something.
That kid almost touched the prices with his rifle.
Japanese special kind of fried omelette was served here.
Another highlight was taiko drumming. Taiko means drum in Japanese and the rhythms those drummers create are stunning. It speeds up a lot towards the end and the drummers are in total full body action all the time.
To take a break from ancient cultural traditions, we jumped right into the world of otaku anime and manga action figures at Akihabara, Tokyo’s electronics entertainment area, a short walk from the Kanda Matsuri Shrine.
Japan is anime world. A popular anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン about giant humanoids called Evangelions that are piloted by teenagers. Japanese girls taking pictures of anime characters. The blue one with the slight emo look, equally appeals to me. Because I think that Tomek looked like that at 17, when we first met. Somehow, I prefer to adore real humans.
See you on another PT day!