MINAMISOMA, Fukushima -- Horsemen clad in samurai armor showed off their skills in the traditional Soma Nomaoi festival held in the Soma district of Fukushima Prefecture on July 30.
Events were staged in various areas including the Hibarigahara festival field in the city of Minamisoma. In the Odaka district, where evacuation orders implemented in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster were lifted in July 2016, samurai horsemen returning from the Kacchu Keiba race and Shinki Sodatsusen flag battle performed the kaeri-uma (returning horse) ritual for the first time in seven years.
KYOTO--Crowds packed the city center streets here for the spectacular sights and sounds of the Yamahoko Junko grand procession at the annual Gion Festival on July 17.
The parade of traditional "yamahoko" floats, some of which are mounted with ceremonial halberds, marked the penultimate headline event at the month-long festival, which is said to have originated between the eighth and 10th centuries with the purpose of warding off curses that were believed to have caused frequent natural disasters and plagues in Kyoto.
KYOTO -- Five trash-collecting "samurai" took to the streets here on July 12 to battle littering for the city's famous Kyoto Gion Festival.
The "Gomi Hiroi Samurai" (trash-collecting samurai) are members of "Jidaigumi Basara," the Tokyo-based branch of the street performance group "Issei Ichidai Jidaigumi" ("Let's go for broke once in a lifetime" period performance group) that bases their singing and dancing performances on traditional theatrical combat -- and cleaning up trash.
KASHIMA, Saga Prefecture--About a thousand people got plastered in mud from head to toe during an outlandish athletic festival held on the tidal flat of the Ariake Sea here on June 11.
About 30,000 people cheered the mud-spattered participants who slid through the sludge on boards and swung over it on ropes like Tarzan among other peculiar activities.
Over the weekend the streets of Asakusa, Tokyo played host once again to one of the Japan capital’s biggest and, arguably, brashest festivals, the Sanja Matsuri (三社祭).
Centering around the popular temple complex surrounding Asakusa Shrine and Sensō-ji in the heart of Asakusa, the festival of over 700 years is considered one three great Shinto knees ups in Tokyo (the other two being Kanda Matsuri and Hie Shrine’s Sanno Festival). Sanja Matsuri is held annually on the third weekend (Fri - Sun) in May to honor the three men who founded Senso-ji, whose spirits now reside in Asakusa Shrine.
The suburban Tokyo city of Machida is hosting Japan's most popular ramen shops as part of the "Ultimate Ramen Festival" at the city's event space "Machida Shibahiro" through May 7.
The festival is being held Thursday to Sunday every week, and will open from Tuesday to Sunday on the final week of the festival. Each week, 10 different ramen shops from around the country will participate, starting with the Kanto region and moving onto Tohoku and Kyushu ramen. Visitors can also enjoy "tsukemen" (noodles dipped in broth) and "mazemen" (noodles without broth to mix with ingredients) along with traditional ramen staples.