Omikoshi Togyo Autumn Festival
The Omikoshi Togyo Autumn Festival (matsuri) is one of the biggest events in Kichijoji, about 30 minutes by subway from Tokyo. The main event is a parade of portable shrines called mikoshi carried along the streets of the town to the Musashino Hachimangu Shrine. This year’s festival as held on the weekend of September 13-14, 2008.
Before the start of the mikoshi parade, groups of taiko drummers were playing in public, in front of a department store (as shown in the YouTube video) and just outside the JR train station as shown in the pictures below.
A small musical troupe riding in a decorated truck and people carrying banners were at the head of the mikoshi procession.
The mikoshi (portable shrines) are owned and carried by the town people, who have to take turns every few minutes as it is a very tiring activity. Shrine bearers rotate from the front and rear of the mikoshi, like queues, and they also wear headbands and sashes. As you can see in the videos below, there is a lot of passion and spirit involved.
As the mikoshi makes it way to the shrine, crowds (and the ever present police) await its arrival at the gate. For such a large and crowded event, it was very orderly (no pushing or shoving) during the procession.
Of course, lots of food at many stalls were available at the matsuri, and there was the ever popular food on the stick …
… and you will also find the traditional goldfish scooping games as well as girls in their summer yukatas.