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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Shrine 2009

(UPDATE: Check out the photos and videos of MITAMA MATSURI 2010 too if you like this post)

I went to the Mitama Matsuri (Soul Festival) at the Yasukuni Shrine yesterday. It is a festival that honours the dead.

Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Temple

My initial plan was to go to the Toro-nagashi (floating of lighted lanterns on the water) in the palace moat at Chidorigafuchi Park nearby.

Alas, I wasn't able to catch the latter, although I have to say that the Mitama Matsuri was definitely impressive.

This is the haunted house attraction at the festival. Hear the sounds of people screaming?

And then I made my way past the stalls and watched a drum performance.

As you can see, it was a pretty large festival, lots of stalls, people, and dazzling colours. I was excited to see so many in yukata too. (I am a fan of its aesthetics!)

The crowd at Mitama Matsuri

Little girl eating alone during Mitaka Matsuri

Walking past the temple gates of Yasukuni

Near the main shrine building, children performances were held. Lots of cries of "Kawaaaaaaii!" among the women audiences. I wanted to do the same but I am fearful that it would sound too pedo-ish.

Children performing ballet at Mitama Matsuri

The many lanterns in the festival bear letters written by many well-known people.

I was walking about the area around the main building when I suddenly heard the rumbling sounds of taiko.

Navigating my way through the sea of people, and as you can see, many were in pretty yukata, I went to check it out.

I left the shrine after that, wanting to head towards the Toro-nagashi as I've mentioned at the beginning of this post.

It was a pity I didn't catch that, the sight of lighted lanterns floating about a moat had always been something I wanted to see for myself.

Yet the Mitama Matsuri in Yasukuni, with its splendour, was worth the trip.

Decorations at the Mitama Matsuri festival

Before I left, I caught the Bon Odori at the festival on video. Pretty magnificent.

(UPDATE: Don't forget to check out the photos and videos of MITAMA MATSURI 2010 if you like this)