Tag Archive for summer

Summer festivals

It’s that time of year when many towns are starting to have their festivals. It’s a time when the heat forces people to become nocturnal, don their light weight happi or yukata, and relax and enjoy life in their communities. See here for summer festival photos like this one below. Japanese festivals often involve a parade of portable shrines, food stalls, cold drinks, and hanging out with family, friends, and neighbours. Learn more about festivals like the Kuwana Ishidori, Nagoya Dance Festival, Nara Lantern festival, the Osaka Tenjin Festival.


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Buy this photo. Nagoya Dance Festival Gallery.

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5 Great reasons to be in Japan this summer

There’s usually plenty of reasons to be in a major city like London, Melbourne, or New York during summer. Though, I’ve heard Parisians tend to evacuate their city in summer. Anyway, summer seems to be the time when office workers discover a world outside their buildings, uni students discover life after exams, communities look over their garden walls and discover they’ve got neighbours. As you’ll also soon see, Japan is a land of superlatives. Here’s the top 5 reasons why summer in Japan is great.

 

5. Sumo in Nagoya

Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city, and is conveniently situated between Tokyo and Osaka. The Nagoya Summer Grand Sumo Tournament is held for the 15 days (from Sunday to Sunday) in the middle of July.

For this sumo photo, and others like it, see the Sumo gallery at my PhotoShelter portfolio. This is the hottest sumo tournament. Really, you’ll be sweating a lot in the stadium. You’ll need to pay inflated prices for cool drinks, but fans are free.

 

4. Festivals

There’s lots of them. Everywhere, almost every weekend from about the end of July to mid to late August. Look up some travel related websites to find out what’s going on, where, and more precisely when. There’s a variety of festivals including sea / marine, fire, community, dance, and more.

The Kuwana Stone-bringing festival is held on the first weekend of August, annually. This is apparently the loudest festival in Japan. See here for the Ishidori / Stone-bringing Festival gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio.

 

3. Tenjin Festival

This festival, yes another festival, is supposedly the biggest in Japan with possibly a million people gathering in the festival vicinity at some point during the day or evening. The Tenjin Festival is held on the 24th and 25th of July each year.

The men's part of the Tenjin procession.

The men’s part of the Tenjin procession.

For this photo, and others like it, see my agent’s website, “Tenjin Matsuri“.

 

2. The World Cosplay Summit

It’s usually held on the first weekend in August in Central Park, Sakae, in the centre of Nagoya. The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) is trying to become the central or focal point of the cosplay culture. However, the main rule is that all costumes must be of a Japanese origin comic, animation, video game etc. So no Star Wars, no Harry Potter, no foreign stuff. In short, it’s a big soft-touch diplomacy thing to centralise and promote Japan. That said, it’s still great. Unfortunately, the actual competition performances are bilingual up until the main TV sponsor, Aichi TV, starts to air the competition later in the evening, then all the announcements are in Japanese only.

The Finnish team parading on the Red Carpet on the day of the World Cosplay Summit competition performances.

The Finnish team parading on the Red Carpet on the day of the World Cosplay Summit competition performances.

For this photo, and others like it, see my Cosplay gallery in my PhotoShelter portfolio and my agent’s website, “Japan Cosplay“. One of the Finnish girls admitted to me that she was warned that it would be hot and humid, and not the choose a costume that is inappropriate for the heat. She admitted they thought they made a good decision, but it seems summer in Nagoya is not like summer in Finland.

 

1. Fireworks

I don’t know why, but Japanese people associate fireworks displays with feeling cooler. Somehow high temperature explosives gives them some relief from the night time heat. Firework displays are held probably every weekend from mid July to late August somewhere in the country. This display in Kuwana city is held on the last Saturday of July. A weekend later Tsu city has it’s display, then a weekend after that is another in Gifu, and it goes on. It’s a time when families bring out the eskies / cooler boxes, with cool drinks, beers, dinner, insect repellent, picnic rug or folding chairs, eat, chat, and wait for the fireworks to begin.

For this photo, and others like it, see my Night in Japan gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio. Note, this photo was taken a some distance, and with my widest angle lens (at 17mm), and it just fits in the frame.

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POTW 29 July 2013: Tenjin Festival

This Photo of the Week is from the Tenjin Festival (Tenjin Matsuri; JNTO). The festival began over a thousand years ago, and it seems the start date has been lost in time. However, the Tenmangu Shrine that hosts the event is known to have been founded in 949AD (Wikipedia). Today, the event is held on the 24th and 25th of July each year according to the Gregorian calendar, so it is assumed that it once followed the Lunar Calendar, as most Far East events were once pegged to. Some regard this as one of the top three festivals in Japan; I guess if judged by visitor numbers alone. I have been to “small” and “local” events like the Tado Horse Festival and the Naked Man Festival, which attracts about 100,000 to 120,000 people; just looking at one street loaded with people, it appeared that there were many, many more than 100,000 people (perhaps double), and that was just one of the many streets that were closed to traffic. Then at night time the street closures and police crowd control becomes a major event to itself. Unfortunately, and unusually, there is no Wikipedia page on the event and so finding crowd figures is difficult. However, my guestimate would be that perhaps close to a million of the 19 million Osakan inhabitants would be attending, including families with babies in prams, teenagers hanging out with their friends, elderly also hanging out with their friends. It’s a real chance to get out and relax before the summer really begins.

Men in the Tenjin Festival (Tenjin Matsuri) in Osaka.

Men in the Tenjin Festival (Tenjin Matsuri) in Osaka.

The parade through town event starts at about 3.30pm and winds up back at the Tenmangu Shrine at 6pm. Many of the parade participants and others continue on barges and boats from 6pm to 10pm. There’s not many people out to see the actual parade, but most come out in the evening afterwards. In the area there are food and toy stalls selling the regular festival food like bar-be-qued corn on the cob, grilled meats including beef, pork, squid, and lots more. Since it is summer, and most people have spent the day in air conditioning, you’ll hear the wailing of ambulances probably whisking away heatstroke victims.

This photo, in high resolution, and others like it is available at my agent’s website for licencing. See Henry Westheim / Asia Photo Connection, or via the search link: “Tenjin Osaka“. Also, the Tenjin Festival video is live on my YouTube Channel. For more on summer festivals in Japan, click on the tags for this post. Also note, that the Japanese word for festival is “matsuri” or まつり.

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POTW 22 July 2013: Fushimi Inari

It’s that time of year, when people go on holidays and holiday destinations get… popular. Here is my all time favourite city, Kyoto. In particular this Photo of the Week is of the Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari, from the Temples and Shrines collection. According to Wikipedia, Fushimi Inari was founded in 711 (ironic, Japan loves 7-11) to worship Inari, the god of businesses, merchants, and manufacturers. It is an amazing place to walk through. You can spend an entire morning strolling around the hills where these make paths enjoying a surreal-like adventure land. However, this time of year… and considering it’s Kyoto, take a thermos filled with your favourite cold drink from a vending machine, and a fan; you will sweat.

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POTW, 1st July: Sumo Summer

In the middle two weeks of this month is the Nagoya Grand Sumo Summer Tournament (or something of that approximation of words). Anyway, it’s in Nagoya, it’s sumo, it’s summer, it’s a tournament, and it’s grand. This Photo of the Week is from a past Nagoya sumo tournament. Currently, all the sumo stables are here in Nagoya and surrounds staying at temples, shrines, and other places, and doing their practice sessions early in the morning at training rings that are also at shrines, temples, and even public schools.

For more sumo photos, including training sessions and real bouts, see my PhotoShelter portfolio.

Also, today marks the official start of the Mt Fuji climbing season. The climb up the mountain is usually crammed with about 10,000 people scrambling, usually at night for the sunrise view, but in bumper to bumper conditions. Now Mt Fuji is to be World Heritage listed, it’s bound to be insane.

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Summer events in central Japan

There’s a lot coming up in the coming hot & humid months.

  1. Nagoya Sumo Tournament, 10th to 24th July.
  2. Local town summer festivals begin (‘matsuri’).
  3. Fireworks season begins (‘hanami’).
  4. Yoyama Festival in Kyoto, 15th & 16th July.
  5. Kuwana City Stone-bringing Festival (Kuwana Ishidoria, the loudest festival in Japan), 3rd & 4th Aug.
  6. Word Cosplay competition, 3rd & 4th Aug.
  7. Nagoya Dance Festival (Nagoya Domatsuri), 26th to 28th Aug.

I’m quite busy and so I need to prioritise my schedule. Consequently, there’s no guarantee that I can go to these unless my services are pre-arranged.


Summer in Japan – Images by Andrew Blyth

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Summer Coupon

It’s almost the end of summer, and it’s time get those end-of-summer images now! Get 20% off any of my images only at my PhotoShelter account, until 8th September 2010. Minimum purchase is USD$25, coupon code is: SUMMERSCRAMBLE2010.

What to get:

  • Japanese night festival (Ishidori)
  • Nagoya Dance Festival (Domatsuri)
  • Cosplay (World Cosplay Summit, 2010)
  • Sumo (the controversial Nagoya tournament)

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Nagoya Domatsuri

Next weekend is the Nagoya Dance Festival, or ‘Domatsuri’. I’ll be attending. Usually it’s either extraodinarily hot and sunny, and terrible to photograph in; or wet, humid, hot and terrible to photograph in. Wish me luck this year. The Nagoya dance festival is not a traditional town festival, nor traditional dance event. It was modelled on the Hokkaido event that the Nagoya university students attended, and were impressed by. Consequently, because of the Hokkaido influence, there are Sino-Japanese style dances, rock/pop influences, as well as more traditional or jazzed-up styles as well. It’s dynamic, and a feast for the eye. I always love to see the Kyoto University teams, they have time and depth-of-knowledge to dedicate in their preparations for this event. This is a must see for all tourists visiting Nagoya at this time of year.

My blurb for PhotoShelter portfolio gallery (shown below)

The Nagoya Dance Festival competition, known locally as Domatsuri is an annual summer event held at the end of August. Domatsuri was first organised by university students in 1999, and later taken over by the city. It now attracts over 200 teams with over 20,000 participants, with an audience of nearly 2 million viewers.?

As you can see it’s a big event, and a very big deal.  More information can be found at the Domatsuri webpage (in English). Below is the gallery available on my PhotoShelter portfolio, but more is also available at Asia Photo Connection (13 images available, see pages 5-6).


Nagoya Domatsuri – Images by Andrew Blyth

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