Bang Those Drums & Celebrate: Autumn Festivals in Japan

November 26, 2007 at 6:50 pm

November is a beautiful time of year in Japan, and a perfect opportunity to experience some amazing, traditional fall festivals. There are endless parades with vibrant, colorful floats; street theater performances; tons of dancing; elaborate costumes; and huge crowds.

On “Culture Day”, November 3rd, there were at least seven festivals this year. The largest by far was the Ohara Festival in Kagoshima Prefecture. It lasted two days and attracted 22,000 people dancin’ to folk songs in the street.

daimyo1.jpg

Do you love a parade? The loudest is probably Matsue Do-Gyoretsu Drum Festival in Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island. It features a “battle of the bands” between drummers from 30 neighborhoods. The drums are pulled through the city by floats, and played by children. If you happen to be in town, odds are they’ll give you a shot at the drums; they love to invite visitors to participate — so don’t drink too much sake before you’re called up!

Other parades on November 3rd included the Shitenno-ji Wasso parade in Osaka , which started in 1990 and celebrates “the history of cultural exchanges and relations between ancient Japan and East Asia.” Thousands of people showed up wearing intricate costumes showcasing heroes and historical figures.

Last but not least, consider Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu in Hakone-machi, Kanagawa, an event that re-enacts the Feudal Lord’s Parade:

 


It’s almost like being there…

 

Sarah S.

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Entry filed under: Japanese Culture, Japanese Entertainment.

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