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I needed a place to put stuff that is not bike, and not workshop, so I made this page.

This weekend, the 3rd weekend of May we always have a Matsuri, or town festival, this one is the "Mikoshi" in which the god or Kami from the local Shinto shrine is taken for a tour of the neighborhood. To do this the kami is put into a portable shrine, or a "Mikoshi", this is then carried around the neighborhood by the townsfolk. 

The Mikoshi is a miniature shrine, with a roof, walls, pillars, a veranda and doors, it is often very ornate, and has a brass figure of a phoenix on the roof. Sometimes the Mikoshi are HUGE and weigh several tons and are carried by hundreds of people. 


Here is the shot right out the front door of my liquor shop as the Mikoshi goes by.
The Mikoshi in our neighborhood is a normal size, it is carried by about 30 people.

 


Here you can see the Mikoshi coming up the street.
On the left you can see a pink building, and then a short white one, the next building, the gray one is my house, the Dungeon in in the basement there. This shot is taken just in front of my Liquor shop, you can see the sign with the Kanji for "Sake" on the right, just right of the tree.


Everyone involved gets dressed up in the festival clothes.

The large black writing on the backs of some of the guys say "Yochomachi" which is the name of my town.

The purpose of the ride around the neighborhood for the Kami is to give fun ride, so the people carrying the Mikoshi do so by shaking the Mikoshi around, and up and down quite violently at times.


It is also common for kids to get boosted up on to the Mikoshi for a ride as well.
You may also notice that while the majority of the people carrying the Mikoshi are men, women do take part as well.


A lot of the Mikoshi we see are fairly old, but not many are really old, as a lot were destroyed in the second world war.

I have done this several times, and it is hard work, I could barely walk for two days afterwards! 

For me it is even harder as I'm taller than most Japanese men, so I have to crouch as I carry the Mikoshi, which just kills the back, besides, I have to make sure there is cold beer awaiting them at the next rest stop, so that keeps me busy.


Here is the shot from the back


Here are my two daughters, Mizuki in blue (Giving us the "Peace" sign) and behind her is Erika, with the pink pants. They are taking part in the "Dashi", which is a 4 wheeled wagon that has a big Taiko drum on it. This is pulled around the neighborhood by the kids, young and old!


Another pic of the kids


This is the drum being pulled around.

When I ask people here why they do this, they have no real answer, they just do. I did find out that it is always done before the Mikoshi, so maybe it is a kind of advert or herald for the Mikoshi?

Right click "Save Target As" > Mikoshi Video #1 5.5 mb

Right click "Save Target As" > Mikoshi Video #2 9.8 mb

Take a look at these vids if you have time.

You may notice that there are guys at the front of the Mikoshi who are pushing it back, they are doing this to slow down the advance, and to keep things in check. If they did not do this things can rapidly go forward, and then people start tripping over each other and fall down, which could become deadly, with that many people in such tight quarters.

 

Cheers!