MATSURI, WHAT DOES THIS WORD MEAN?
MATSURI, WHAT DOES THIS WORD MEAN IN JAPANESE?
This word means festival, although perhaps it would be more correct to translate it as ‘traditional festival’. In Japan there are a large number of matsuris scattered throughout the country’s geography due to its millenary culture and traditions.
When planning a trip, especially if it were a photographic one, it would be always interesting to encounter some kind of traditional festival, as this will entail an infinite number of photographic possibilities. Most Japanese matsuris are usually very striking, especially for the colors of the traditional costumes worn. If the matsuri is celebrated at dusk or at night, then the color tones are even more meaningful as we will always find chochin (Japanese illuminated lanterns traditionally made from paper), that will create a very warm and attractive atmosphere to the event.
In this post we will introduce three of the best festivals in the Tohoku region that we actually visited and photographed.
- NEBUTA MATSURI. Aomori (August). This matsuri is well known for its impressive floats made of painted translucent Japanese paper and illuminated from inside. The floats are carried by a large group of men while women in colorful traditional kimono and hat made of straw dance along. Tourists properly dressed up might able to dance with the local people to the sound of taiko, Japanese drums, and sing. To see more photos of Nebuta Matsuri click HERE.
- KANTO MATSURI. Akita (August). This festival is recognized as one of the three most important festivals in Tohoku region along with Nebuta Matsuri. The name of Kanto refers to the “long bamboo sticks with lanterns”. 46 illuminated chochin, Japanese paper lanterns lit with candles, are hanged to the 12-meter-long bamboo stick. Men hold the sticks in amazing positions for example on their forehead or on their waist, making the delights of the spectators, and of course, the photographers. To see more photos of Kanto Matsuri click HERE
- YOKOTE KAMAKURA MATSURI. Yokote (February). Also in Akita province, but this time in winter, takes place this festival of ice and snow. The inhabitants of the city of Yokote build ice kamakura, which is basically a large igloo, and they place an altar dedicated to the water deity. At dusk children invite visitors to enter the kamakura while they cook mochi (rice cakes) and serve amazake (sweet hot sake) for them. To see photos of Yokote Kamakura Matsuri click HERE.
In Akashi Photos, every time we organize a photo tour or photographic trip, we always try to find a nice matsuri we can attend to, since it is one of the best places to take pictures of real live Japanese tradition and culture.