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上野天神祭り Ueno-itenzin-maturi Ueno Tenjin Festival

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The Ueno Tenjin Festival is held at Ueno, Iga, in Mie Prefecture, and is a unique festival in the Kinki area.

The festival features a portable miniature shrine (mikoshi), followed by 9 flamboyant floats (danjiri), as well as large and small groups of some 300 humorous demons along with En-no Ozuno and Minamotono Yoritomo (both historical characters). These parade all day long through the downtown area re-creating the culture of the Genroku era.

The roots of this festival date to the time when Fujidou Takatora moved the Tenjingu figure to Yamanokami in Ueno. People came to worship Tenjingu as the guardian deity of the locality, and a festival developed that became increasingly lively. The costumes worn for the festival parade became more elaborate over the years.

Between 1804 and 1828, the Tenjin festival took the shape it has today. The Ueno Tenjin Festival is counted as one of the three major festivals of the Kansai area, and is also designated as an important intangible cultural heritage of Japan.
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