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Aichi, Culture

Inuyama Festival 犬山祭

The Inuyama festival took place shortly after the sun went down.  Around 7:00pm the floats began to make their way down the street and dispersed in different directions.  Each float was decorated differently and on the back were characters that labeled each float.  The path of each float was also different because they would each parade to a different city to which they belonged.  As a result, there were turns that had to be made on the way to their destinations.  The only problem with that is, the floats were not mechanical, but instead moved by the people surrounding it.

Before the parade began, there was lots of preparation that took place.  The people participating in the event had to dress in their traditional costumes and then go to prepare the floats for the nighttime spectacle.  The tradition is, children are not supposed to walk on the way to the float.  Rather, the parents are supposed to carry them on their shoulders.  Once they reach the float, the children will climb over and sit in the float throughout the remainder of the event.

As the floats begin to proceed down the streets, the children inside of the float begin to play music.  The music consists of flutes and drums which is uniquely written for each float.

During the day the floats are covered with banners and a figurine is placed at the top.  However, at night the floats are covered in lanterns that are intended to light the way to each city.

As you may be able to see, the floats are pushed by men who have volunteered to participate in the festival.  Following behind the floats are the people that live in these cities.  The people follow the floats all the way back to the floats storage place as it parades through the streets.  Others stand to either side and watch as each float passes.  There were only five floats tonight since the main festival was set to take place the next day.  In spite of that, it was quite a spectacle to watch these people push and even lift these structures.

We followed the floats to the main intersection that required a change in direction.  There had been crowds waiting on each side and roped off by police.  The number of police coordinating the event and organizing the crowd seemed to be a bit excessive, but it was quite obvious they didn’t want to see someone trampled by a float.  The only downside was I had an officer positioned right in front of me with a megaphone.  He didn’t seem to mind pointing it directly at me when he asked the crowd, 「一歩下がってください」, please take one step back!  I didn’t complain though seeing as I managed to find a front row spot.  Pay close attention to the wheels in the next few pictures.

The participants would turn the floats and then carry them as far as they could before finally giving into the extreme weight.  One group made it nearly 30 feet before finally dropping it, about double what the other float participants were able to do.  The only difference I noticed between the floats was one man guiding the direction began yelling the more expressive form of come, 「来い!来い!」.  I myself could feel more energy as this man urged them not to give up.  I’m hoping to find some information on how to get involved in the festival for next years events.  From that I should have a little more to write about. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this content then you may enjoy my other post about Inuyama Castle http://wp.me/p1VrbD-jz


About travelnihon

I recently graduated from the University and am currently teaching English to all ages in Japan


7 thoughts on “Inuyama Festival 犬山祭

  1. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Ged | April 11, 2012, 9:08 pm
  2. So cool Brad. Wouldn’t it be fun to see something like these floats going down our back roads?

    Posted by Aunt Deb | April 11, 2012, 11:20 pm
  3. That was very interesting Brad. I amazed at how they can pick them up to move them when they have to.

    Posted by Grandma Fitzpatrick | April 12, 2012, 4:21 pm
  4. I love festival photos!
    I haven’t been to many festivals, although I really love them!!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by zoomingjapan | May 30, 2012, 2:31 am

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April 2012
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