NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/2/12


八日市大凧まつり Youkaichi-oodako-matsuri Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival

Jp En

Many kite-flying activities take place during the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival. The Yokaichi giant kite is designated as an intangible folk cultural asset.

Yokaichi giant kite-flying started 300 years ago in the mid-Edo period. Kites were flown to celebrate the birth of a boy. For this reason, kite-flying is similar to the display of koinobori on Boy's Day, an important event in Japan. Nowadays, over 100 kites are flown, and they are even flown to celebrate a young person's coming of age.

Yokaichi giant kites are designed with 'hanjimon otako', which features pictures of fishes and birds in the upper section with words written in red to illustrate meanings. This kite, in a sense, is rare because it has cut-out sections that help to diminish resistance from wind. Flying these giant kites involves balancing the strength of the strings with the size of the kite.

The Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival is held annually on the 4th Sunday of May in Aichi-gawa.
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2007/1/23


新湊法生津八幡宮 Shinminato-Hojozu-hachimangu Shinminato Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine

Jp En

Shinminato Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine is located in Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture. The shrine was established in 746, when the poet Ootomo-no-Yakamochi, who was then an officer of the Ecchu area, was given blessings by the Usa Hachimangu Shrine in Toyomae to build a shrine.

Behind the site of the shrine is a monument commemorating one of Ootomo-no-Yakamochi's poems, which is about Nago Inlet, and is included in the classic book 'Manyoushu'. 'Because the eastern wind blows hard, the waves of the Nago Inlet beat the shore, just as my heart aches and beats for security and love.' Nago Inlet can be seen from the shrine, allowing the viewer to experience the poet’s passion and emotion. The shrine also includes a monument to Matsuo Basho, who became famous for his book 'Osu no Hosomichi'.

The Houjyouzu Hachiman Festival takes place every October 1st with a parade of floats. Thirteen gorgeous floats are pulled through the city, looking like mountains of flowers by day, and a grand sight by night when lit up.
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2007/1/10


津沢 夜高行燈 Tsuzawa Tsuzawa Yodakaandon

Jp En

Every year on June 10th and 11th, a traditional event called Yodakaandon takes place in Tsuzawa, Oyabe-Shi, Toyama Prefecture. It is an epic and elegant festival that dates back 350 years to the early Edo period.

As part of the rites for the establishment of the town of Fukuno (today's Nanto-shi), the townspeople went to receive blessings from the spirits at the Ise Shrine. The journey to the shrine took ten days, so the townspeople carried 'andon' lanterns to light their way at night.

Today, andon have become part of the festival 'yodaka' procession, which also includes a float, decorations and ornaments. Some yodaka can be very majestic, measuring about 5.5 meters high and 12 meters long.

On the day of the festival, as twilight approaches, the andon light up the dark streets, signaling the children and young people, who are wearing 'happi' festival clothing, to come and pull the large andon while energetically shouting a rallying cry.

The climax or highlight of the festival, however, is the Kenka Yodakaandon Hikimawashi, which literally means 'Yodakaandon brawl'. Two Yodakaandon position themselves face to face, and then collide. Each group has to destroy the other's float and decorations. Everyone who is at that site becomes intoxicated with fear and excitement, drawing the people into a world where dismay and chaos coexist.
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