Tokimeki Taito Festa 2008
November 3, 2008 was a Japanese National Holiday celebrating Culture Day.
Every year during this day, the Tokimeki Taito Festa (also known as the Tokyo Historical Festival or Tokyo Era Festival) is celebrated in Asakusa, a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon.
According to the Asakusa web site describing this event, “the first Tokyo Historical Festival, a pageant recreating the history of Edo/Tokyo took place on November 3, 1989. The purpose of this event was to highlight the fact that Tokyo’s history and culture originated in Asakusa, and to establish the presence and uniqueness of Asakusa in Tokyo as a city of the world. The festival, now in its 18th year, has proved a popular attraction and features the newly added participation of the citizens of Taito City.”
One of the highlights of this festival is the parade with colorful costumes of the Edo period.
The Dance of the Golden Dragon recreates the legend that Ryujin, the dragon god, descended from the heavens to protect the Kannon statue while it was being venerated at Senso-ji temple.
Many children also participated in the parade.
There were many very colorful costumes …
… as well as scary costumes (Halloween? … close enough).
Many were dressed as samurais.
Portable shrines or mikoshi (sacred palanquins) were carried by a boat on wheels (I think there were 3 in total).
Some important characters rode in floats on wheels including the Seven Gods of Fortune.
The Edo Castle pull stone with Ieyasu Tokugawa, commander-in-chief in 1608 who oversaw the construction.
“Hanami-odori” is a flower-viewing dance performed by townspeople clad in colorful costumes.
Firemen of Edo carrying a ladder.
Geisha are highly accomplished women trained in classical Japanese dance and shamisen (Japanese three-stringed plucked lute) playing who provide entertainment at social gatherings.
In 1853, a fleet of American warships (the “black ships”) bearing envoy Matthew Calbraith Perry appeared off the coast of Uraga, a city at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, marked the beginning of the end for Japan’s 300-year old policy of seclusion.
More pictures on my Facebook. Please see also TokyoFive’s coverage of this event.