2017年05月31日

'Aomori Nebuta', being crowded with more than two million visitors, is a summer festival held in Aomori City every August.

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As shown in the picture, Aomori Nebuta festival featuring powerful and colorful floats is widely known throughout Japan. There are many theories about the origin of this festival though, it seems to be a derivative of 'Tanabata' star festival found everywhere in Japan. However the design of the floats and the musical accompaniment of this festival are very different from other summer festivals. Thus, it can't be denied that Aomori Nebuta has something to do with the repeated fierce battles in the 9th century, between the Imperial Court in Kyoto and the 'Ainu' native Japanese who used to live in this district. The floats had gradually become bigger with more decorative design as there was no size limitation, but now the size of them are restricted to under 9 meters long, 5
meters high and 7 meters wide. There are three types of Nebuta floats, sponsored by big companies, big organizations and the neighborhoods. 15 nebuta artists, who are called 'nebutashi', make their unique nebuta floats every year to entertain the sightseers.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:08 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2012年02月28日

'Dondo-yaki' also known as 'sagicho' is a kind of fire festival, making a bonfire of the New Year's decorations.

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Many Japanese people bring their own New Year's decorations such as pine branches, bamboos and straw wreaths, the first calligraphy of the year and old good-luck charms into neighboring Shinto shrines, rice fields in which the harvesting was over or vacant lots.
They make a bonfire with them on the 15th of January, when 'ko-shougatsu' the lunar New Year is corresponding.
The flames of a fire are thought to have a mysterious power to expel evil spirits and stimulate the locals life force, in the world of Shintoism that is Japan's native religion. In addition, this rite involves many spirits which dwelled in the New Year's decorations during the New Year holidays, going back to heaven with the rising smoke.
Originally observed in the rice paddies by the children of each area, the place has been gradually changed to the local Shinto shrines and vacant lots of residential areas in line with the urbanization and the smaller number of children in Japan.

Posted by licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:33 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2011年01月09日

A 'kadomatsu' and 'shimekazari', also known as a 'shimenawa', are arranged at an entrance of a residence or store during the New Year.

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Based on the teaching of 'Shinto', Japan's indigenous religion, the ornament-like objects called a 'kadomatsu' and 'shimekazari', made of a twig of pine, bamboo or rice straw, are seen at an entrance of many buildings in the New Year.
A pair of a 'kadomatsu' in the picture above is placed at an entrance of a building, while a 'shimekazari' in the picture below is put up on the upper part of the front door. These ornamental objects are thought to have a mysterious power to attract the ' toshi-gami',the god who brings good harvest of the year, and to purify the inside of a house or building. This is a same idea as tall trees or big rocks wound with straw rope in 'Shinto' shrine precincts. Lastly, pine trees are regarded as a symbol of the longevity in the country.

Licensed tour guide,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:48 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする