2010年11月29日

'Shichi-Go-San',a gala day for children of three, five and seven years of age, who dress up in traditional kimonos and visit the local shrine with 'chitose-ame', a long stick of candy, in their hands.

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'Shichi-Go-San', one of the major annual events in Japan,is said to date from the 17th century. Pretty children with traditional kimono, accompanied by their parents, are seen within a pale of a shrine throughout the country like in the picture above before and after the 15th of Nov. Before in the middle of the 19th century when Japan's modernization begun, the infant mortality had been very high due to the malnutrition and poor medical technology. Therefore the children under seven were regarded as a fragile being, who were likely to go back to heaven. Based on this way of thinking, the custom of cerebrating children reaching three, five and seven years old and of offering thanks to God, has taken root in the country. While in the picture below,a candy called 'chitose-ame' that is an essential part of this gale, is shown. A pair of long and narrow candies in a special paper bag is necessarily carried by boys and girls in their hands.

Licensed tour guide,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:04 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月26日

'Kawasaki-taishi' shrine located in Kawasaki City, next to Tokyo, has annually hosted the 'Furin-ichi' literally the wind-bell fair on every August since 1996.

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A wind-bell dangling from eaves of a house gives a cool tinkle with a soft, refreshing summer breeze. Japanese people seem to be in search of the cool through the silver tinkle of the bell. Although a prototype of wind-bell was introduced from China as a talisman before the 10th century, it has developed in Japan as a gadget to cope with the heat of summer. In the course of diffusion, it has been downsized, well designed and various kinds of materials have been widley applied to it. 'Nanbu-furin' in Iwate Prefecture, made of cast iron, and 'Edo-furin' in Tokyo, made of glass are the examples.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:07 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月17日

'Hakata gion yamakasa' is a summer festival of 'Kushida Shrine' in Fukuoka City, Kyushu, whose 'Oiyama' featuring a brave and lively finale attracts many visitors across the country.

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There strongly remains a variety of Japanese traditions in Fukuoka City since it flourished as a gateway to China and Korea in ancient times. Above all, 'Hakata gion yamakasa', whose origin dates back to the 13th century, is very well known in Japan. We have many summer festivals held in a shrine, however 'Oiyama' is the bravest divine service of its kinds. Seven portable shrines, represent seven districts of the city, are shouldered by tens of half-naked men to rush as far as five kilometers for the fastest ranking in the time trial. It is interesting to enjoy this race comparing with Kyoto's elegant 'Gion matsuri' festival. The decoration in the picture is one of the 14 floats offered by the 14 districts of the city to go on display in the heart of the city during the festival.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通約案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 10:38 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする