Tokyo Days 40 - Mitama Matsuri

The Mitama Matsuri is one of Tokyo's biggest Obon festivals and is celebrated at the Yasukuni Shrine every year. This year, the festival runs from the 13th till the 16th of July and plays to host to various events over these four days.

Having not been to a matsuri before, I decided to check out Mitama Matsuri for myself on the first day of the event.

Arriving fairly early, there was not many people in attendance just yet. As the weekend draws closer, the festival attracts even more and more visitors.

Arriving early not only meant less people but, also a chance to view the festivities both in light and dark. Two very different atmospheres for the summer festival.

Since this was only the first day of the event, the various food stores had not been sett up yet. Otherwise they would be lined up along the side of the walkway.

Approaching the Yasukuni main shrine, there were more and more people present.

Many gathered around the main gate, some to take photos while others used it as a meeting point.

You know summer has come when you see these.

Pictures do not do justice on just how large that gateway is and there are two of them.

A close up look at the ornamental decorations.

The larger lanterns are placed outside, while the smaller ones are within the shrine's courtyard.

The main shrine itself had a fair few people saying their prayers but, it was far from the main attraction.

Without fail, you would always find this stone lantern at every shrine or temple.

As the sun began to set, more people started arriving and you could feel the festivities about to begin.

Small parades could be seen as the groups marched towards the shrine's courtyard.

While, traditional folk dances were held at the square outside the shrine.

The illumination for the lanterns began to appear much more apparent now too.

Even the smaller ones were illuminated with individual bulbs in each one.

At this point, the festival atmosphere had really begun to permeate the environment.

The sights were one thing especially with the thousands of lanterns hung up.

But, the sounds were something on a completely different level.

From performances like the taiko drums to traditional Japanese theater, there was something for everyone.

Even the floats were brought out.

With the sun well and truly set, it was an experience unlike any other.

One that I definitely look forward to again. With these few days that I have left remaining in Tokyo, I will definitely be on the look out to attend another matsuri and this time one with fireworks! Until then, thanks so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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