Sunday, November 25, 2012

All Japan Kokeshi Festival 2012 part 7 全国こけし祭り 2012 第7

Festival revelers enjoying the stalls.
The night of September 1st was the actual festival 祭り in downtown Naruko Onsen. That is, this was the event where people put on their yukata 浴衣 (cotton summer kimono), bought food from vendors, watched a parade with dancers and a portable Shinto shrine 御神輿, and then gathered at the town square for music, singing, dancing, and a taiko drum show. When we went last year it was in the middle of a typhoon, and the fun was basically ruined by a tremendous downpour. This year, however, we had absolutely perfect weather so the show went on. Now, keep in mind that this was a kokeshi festival, so look closely at the photos below and you'll notice that this is a festival that is truly unique within Japan. I think you will agree that this was an amazing kokeshi adventure.
The parade through downtown Naruko begins!
These girls got things started. I presume that they represented the onsens based on what they're carrying.
Next came the giant kokeshis which were real crowd pleasers. Look! They have feet! 
There was one for each traditional kokeshi style.

Next came the dancers. Look closely at the pattern on their yukatas.

This truck with the drumming girls came next. The sign on the side says (from right to left, top to bottom) "58th National Kokeshi Festival: Celebration, Naruko Dance Mando Omikoshi Parade."
These kids are carrying what appears to be a kokeshi-mikoshi. Interesting.
A view of the end of the parade.
When we got to the city square a few of the large kokeshis were milling about.
The taiko drum show -- awesome!
The parade dancers showed up too. Here's a close up of their yukata.

The main stage.
These little girls gave a really terrific stage show. It had nothing to do with kokeshis, but was still lots of fun.

A local dance group.
Next blog: Our final day in Naruko.

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