Three major festivals in Japan(日本三大祭)

Every local shrine celebrates its own deity and holds festivals, so there are countless festivals, or matsuri, in Japan. The main purpose of a matsuri is to celebrate Shinto gods, and to pray for prosperity and good harvests. One of the important elements of a matsuri is the procession, in which the god of the shrine is carried through the town in a mikoshi(portable shrine).

Amikoshi is a special carriage for the gods (the people walking and singing alongside it are just attendants).

There are many festivals in Japan, but the three major ones are Gion (Kyoto), Tenjin (Osaka) and Kanda (Tokyo). Let's take a look at them in detail and I'll describe the atmosphere of these festivals.

Gion Matsuri (Kyoto, Yasaka Shrine): The Gion festival is held every year in the middle of July. The highlights of the festival are the parade of decorated festive floats over 6-meters tall, playing music from their upper floors, and also the festivities during the evenings before the parade. These floats are so gorgeous that they are sometimes even described as "mobile art museums."

Tenjin Matsuri (Osaka, Tenmangu Shrine): The Tenjin festival is a summer festival held in July at the Tenmangu Shrine, which is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane (the god of learning and art). One of the highlights of the festival is a parade of thousands of people dressed in the imperial-court style of the 8th-12th centuries, walking beside mikoshi. The other highlight is the boat procession. People board some one hundred boats and row up Yodogawa River.

Kanda Matsuri (Tokyo, Kanda Myojin Shrine): The Kanda festival is held at the Kanda shrine every year in mid-May. The procession of the mikoshi is the main attraction. A procession of 300 people parades 100 mikoshi through the town. Edoites are often described as high-spirited and combative, but even by their standards the festival is high-spirited and is said to reveal the essence of Edo today.

それぞれの土地にある神社ごとにお祭りを開催するため、日本には数えきれないほどのお祭りがあります。祭りの主な目的は、神を たたえ、繁栄や豊穣を祈ること。そして、神様を神社から連れ出して、街を練り歩くのも大切なイベントの一つ。神輿(みこし)というのは、文字通りに神様のための乗り物で、行列で歌い歩く人間はお付きに過ぎず、神様が通っているわけでした。






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DISCOVERは、世界の「モノ」、「コト」、「場所」、「人」の魅力を再発見する。 また受け継がれている日本の建築、食、祭りなどの多くの伝統文化や風景を、写真とともにわかりやすく解説するメディア。