The 'gods' seats' again play a central part in this festival. The village tradition of the holy mountains, which are displayed as cultic objects at many Japanese festivals, has here produced a striking vehicle which - with a few obvious borrowings from the stage - expresses the spirit of feudal culture in the streets of the town. The huge 'mountain carts' known as dekayama or dashi are placed in the shrine precincts as an impressive historical backdrop for the Shinto ceremonies. These are followed by all sorts of popular entertainments such as the shishimai (lion dance). The scenes presented on the carts differ each year, representing heroic events from feudal history.
(1) A movable wall (byôbu) with a festival picture.
(2) A festival participant in the traditional costume.
(3) The huge wheels turn with a dull rumble.
(4) Boys on the cart platform enliven the festivities with traditional songs.
(5) A Shinto ceremony in the hall before the shrine.
(6) Knights and princes meet before magnificent palaces.
(7) Three carts in the public square before the principal shrine.
Back to text
Back to 'Folkfestivals as a Gateway to Japanese Culture'
Back to homepage