Kurayami Matsuri (Black Night Festival) was held at the Okunitama Jinga (shrine) in Fuchu on the outskirts of Tokyo from May 3-6, 2010.
Dating back more than 1,900 years, this annual festival attracts around 300,000 people every year to Okunitama Jinja.
May 5 is Children’s Day (as part of Japan’s Golden Week in early May) so koinobori (carp) streamers were hung around the shrine.
Inside the shrine grounds, there were many different types of stalls (food, drinks, games), as well as potted flowers and plants – it was so colorful as you can see from the pictures below.
On the last day of the festival, the feature event was held called Mikoshi-Togyo, a parade of portable shrines and giant drums, which started at 6 pm and into the evening.
Before the start of the actual parade, there was a procession of shinto priests …
… and participants (townspeople) heading to the shrine.
The mikoshi are led by the largest hollow wooden taiko drum in Japan known as Osakibarai-Taiko (which boasts a width of 2.5 meters) and 5 other giant drums.
These giant drums seem effortlessly pulled by the townspeople, while a few stand on top of them and someone bangs loudly as a signal to the gods.
The biggest excitement of the parade (and where most people watch) came when the huge drums and mikoshi groups meet at the intersection, and enthusiastically try to outdo each other.
Who said Japanese people are reserved and not so crazy?