Tag Archives: japanese festival

Tokyo-jidai Matsuri

6 Nov

Last Sunday (November 3rd) was the Japanese holiday 「文化の日」 (Culture Day).

On this day, the Emperor of Japan presents awards to people who have contributed to Japanese culture.  And there are also many “culture related” festivals on this day, such as 「流鏑馬」 (Horseback Archery) shows and 「時代祭り」 (Era Festivals).

The 「東京時代祭り」 (Tokyo-era Festival) is in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo) every year on November 3rd from about 1:00-4:00PM.

「東京時代祭り」 (Tokyo-era Festival)

We didn’t go to a festival on Culture Day this year because we’ve gone to them a few times before.

Click here to read my post that I wrote after I went to this festival five years ago. It has photos and videos.

Summer Festivals

29 Aug

Earlier this month, I participated in one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals.
(Click here to read that post.)

There are many great festivals all year round…but especially so in the summer.
(Click here to see a list I made of some of Tokyo’s best festivals.)

I like Japan’s festivals a lot…and I go to many of them.

In early August, my family and I went to watch a summer 花火大会 (fireworks show) near our house that we usually go to every year.
The 花火大会 (fireworks shows) in Japan are excellent! If you have a chance, you should see one!
(Here is a list of some of Tokyo’s biggest fireworks shows.)

It’s not easy to photograph fireworks with the camera I have…but here are a few that I took:

花火 (“hanabi”)…literally “flower (of) fire”, is the Japanese word for “fireworks”.

We also went to a festival at a temple not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree.

After that, we went to 上野公園 (Ueno Park):

(Click here to see some other photos I took in Ueno a couple of years ago.)

If you have any questions about festivals in Tokyo, things to do in this city, or whatever…feel free to contact me.

100 year old Japanese trees in America

25 Mar

Did you know that there are 3,000 Japanese さくら (Sakura (Cherry Blossom)) trees in Washington DC, America?

Japanese Sakura in Washington, DC (photo from Yahoo! News)

Did you know that those trees were a gift of friendship to America from Japan? And that the first two trees were planted near the White House by the then American “First Lady” and wife of the Japanese Ambassador to America?

I knew all of that already and I also knew that there are Japanese-style 花見 (“Cherry Blossom Viewing” parties) in Washington DC every spring when the flowers are in bloom.

But I didn’t know that Japan gave the trees to America in March 1912. One hundred years ago this month.
And I also didn’t know that the first two trees (the ones planted by the wives of the then U.S. President and Japanese Ambassador) are still standing in the same spot the were planted in Washington DC in 1912.

So, this year’s 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) in Washington DC is special because it’s the one-hundredth anniversary of the gift of the trees from Japan.

The さくら (Cherry Blossoms) are already in bloom in Washington DC because of unusually warm weather in America now.

Another event to help mark the occasion took place in New York City earlier this month.
2012 March 1-6 was called “Japan Week” in NYC.

I don’t know much about this event but from looking at their website, it appears that visitors could experience a lot of Japanese culture that week in New York.

A woman playing the "Koto" (Japanese harp-like instrument) at "Japan Week" in NYC.

JapanNYC

15 Mar

Carnegie Hall in New York City, USA is currently having a festival of Japanese arts and culture that they call “JapanNYC” from 2011 March 14th until 2011 April 9th.

Some may feel that they should have canceled the event after the earthquake struck the Sendai area of Japan on 2011 March 11th…but Carnegie Hall decided to continue with the planned Japan festival in honor of the earthquake victims:

Everyone at Carnegie Hall was deeply saddened to hear the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday. While plans for our JapanNYC festival proceed, we offer our thoughts and prayers to those affected. At this incredibly difficult time, we feel it is particularly important to pay tribute to Japan and its people through these festival events.

–Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, NYC

If you’re in the New York City area from now and April 9, you should consider checking out some of this event.
I’ve never seen a “Japan festival” in America but this one looks interesting. Among the scheduled events, they will have Taiko Drumming, Noh Theater and concerts led by the famous Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa.

Here’s a promotion video for the event:

Mitama-祭り

17 Jul

Every year from July 13 – 16 the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has their annual O-bon festival called 「ミタマ祭り」 (“Mitama Festival“).

We go to this festival nearly every year.

(Click here to see my post about last year’s festival with a number of photos I took.

And click here to see my post from 2008 about that year’s festival…with some videos I took and a slide-show of my photos.)

We went to this festival yesterday (Friday, July 16). It was the weekend and the last day of the festival so it was especially crowded. So I wasn’t able to take many nice photos.

Here are some of the photos I took there yesterday:

金魚すくい ("Goldfish Scooping")

根津神社

10 May

Just like Mothers Day last year, my wife and I went out and our kids made a Mother Day dinner for my wife.

This year they made pasta, salad and dessert. It was delicious.

While they were making dinner, my wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno) and 根津神社 (Nezu Jinja Shrine).

We’ve been there many times. In fact, here’s a post I wrote with photos of Nezu Shrine, and here’s another with videos.

At 御徒町 (Okachimachi, Tokyo), there was a 神輿祭り (Mikoshi portable shrine festival) going on:

(I have carried a Mikoshi shrine in festivals a few times.
The most recent was at the famous 「深川八幡祭り」 (Fukagawa Hachiman Festival).
I wrote a post about with with a slideshow and a number of videos…click here to see it.)

At 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine):

Over 150 "Torii"

Before this tree was cut down it had broke through both the side and top of the wall.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen between these buildings in the distance.

子どもの日

6 May

Yesterday was 「子供の日」 (“Children’s Day“) in Japan. The final day of “Golden Week“.
Today most everyone in Japan went back to work or school.

Yesterday, we went to the 「藤まつり」 (“Wisteria flower Festival”) at 「亀戸天神社」 (“Kameido Ten-Jinja Shrine”).

Sign says 「亀戸天神 藤まつり」 ("Kameido Tenjin" Shrine "Wisteria Festival")

藤 (Wisteria flowers)

The "Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen from this shrine.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" (under construction)

Festivals in Japan have booth selling foods, drinks, etc

It was "Golden Week", so it was quite crowded.

(Click here to see a post I wrote that has a picture of a 浮世絵 (traditional Japanese woodblock print) of this shrine, and how it hasn’t changed much since).

From there, we went to 「亀戸香取神社」 (“Kameido Katori Jinja Shrine“) which honors, among other things, 「亀戸大根」 (the “Kameido Daikon” giant Japanese radish).
This radish grew in the Kameido area of Tokyo even during times of drought. So this shrine lets people “thank” the Kameido Daikon for helping to keep the people of Japan from going hungry during hard times.

This sign says "Kameido Daikon". And "Kameido" is written with the characters resembling a turtle (for the town's name means "turtle door") and a Daikon radish.

There were 八重桜 ("Leafy Sakura") in bloom.

「亀戸大根」 ("Kameido Daikon")

Wash 恵比寿様 (Ebisu-sama) and they'll ensure your good health and fortune.