Yesterday (2009 July 13), we went to the first day of the 2009 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival).
This year this festival is from Monday, July 13 until Thursday, July 16. So, if you’re currently in the Tokyo area you can go to this festival. It’s at the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).
靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is where Japan enshrines all who have died in battle defending Japan. I wrote a bit about it in another post…click here.
We have been to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) many times, and we go to the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) nearly every year.
I wrote a post about this festival last year…click here to see it. That post has videos and a slideshow of photos.
In the summertime in Japan, there are many Obon festivals…which are festivals to honor the deceased. And, as I wrote above, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is Japan’s shrine for the war-dead. So the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) is a festival to honor the war-dead.
They were heading to the festival.
They say: "Mitama Festival, July 13-16. Yasukuni Shrine"
At the festival many people wear ゆかた and じんべい (Japanese traditional summer outfits).
At many summer festivals in Japan, there are haunted house attractions. These have been popular at summer festivals since long ago in Japan because it’s said that the chills from the fright help cool you off in the summer heat. (Horror movies are also popular in the summertime in Japan for the same reason).
Here’s the outside of the Haunted House attraction at 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival):
「ろくろ首」 ("Long neck Geisha Ghost") is a old traditional ghost story.
As usual, we had a good time at the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) even though it was a hot day. We had 焼きそば (Grilled Noodles) and beer, watched the ねぶた (Nebuta) float parade, and our kids played festival stall games.