And finally, here is the review of last weekend’s festival in Itabashi!
The big attraction of this festival was the Omikoshi (お神輿)! Omikoshi is a kind of “portable Shinto Shrine” that is carried by people from the Shinto Shrine where it originally was, and all around the neighborhood, finishing a the Shinto Shrine, or in a previously designated area.
The mikoshi is made of a central part, which is supported by two, four, or in rare cases, six poles, which are carried by people on their shoulders. The central part is usually a building (like a mini shrine), and it is gorgeously decorated with Shinto symbols.
While carrying the mikoshi, people shout some expressions that come from many years ago, and it serves as a kind of auto-motivation for the group. The shouts are something like: “say ya, soi ya, sah, sorya… etc.” The mikoshi is also waved up and down, and a little to the right and left. Sometimes it is wildly waved, being said that this amuses the Deity inside the shrine.
It was carried for around 6 hours, but there were breaks along the way, where people from some stores, or particulars, offered food and drinks to the participants.
It was quite fun, and quite tiring, because despite being many people carrying the mikoshi (around 30, maybe), it is quite heavy! But everyone makes an effort, so the group goes on!
Also, there were some activities for the kids too, like small mikoshi, and other things.
A fun weekend, and yet another Japanese culture experience! 🙂