Takeda Matsuri : Shingen ko Matsuri

Publié le par Yama no Kami Nobusada

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    In early April, the city of Kofu travels back in time to honor Takeda Shingen, the famous warlord of the Sengoku era. Replicas of Furinkazan, the representative flag of Lord Shingen, are seen all over the city. The highlight of the festival is the parade of the Takeda army, comprising of local citizens dressed in authentic costumes ofShingen's famous twenty-four knights and more than 1,500 warriors marching along with torches.



    Yamanashi was founded by a famous samurai warier Takeda Shingen who lived before the Edo period. One of Shingen's claims to fame is the defeat of Tokugawa Ieyasu the founder of today's Aichi-ken in the battle of "mikata ga hara". This was Tokugawa's one and only defeat. Shingen raised many horses in Yamanashi and rode into battle on horse surprising and then defeating Tokugawa Ieyasu.
    There is a famous word used to describe Shingen and his battle techniques. fuurinkazan made up of the Kanji for wind, forest, fire, and mountain. He was said to move like the wind but as quiet as the forest before raising into battle like a great fire and standing strong like the mountains. Today, a large statue of Shingen stands at the South entrance to Kofu station. The jingle played on the train to alert passengers that the train is approaching the final stop of Kofu station is from a famous song about Takeda Shingen. This festival occurs every year in Kofu to honor Takeda Shingen.
    The festival starts the 1st weekend in April on Friday around 5 p.m. at Maizuru castle. There is a contest to determine who will represent Shingen's wife in the parade the following day. Fri. through Sun. there are food and game booths at the castle, in downtown on Orion and Ginza Road, as well as some other locations. The festival continues Sat. around 10 a.m. There are events at Takeda Jinjya in the afternoon and a parade starting in front of Kofu station around 5:00 p.m. This is Yamanashi's biggest festival.


   
    Okagura Festival, April 20, Hakushu, Yamanashi okagura_dancer Traditional dance during the okagura matsuri at Kaikomagatake Jinjya in Hakushu, Yamanashi which only occurs once every spring on April 20. The dances are said to be performed as they were hundreds of years ago. One in particular tells a story of Japan falling into darkness and Bishamon-ten one of the shitenno (four heavenly kings) dancing for Amaterasu Oomikami the sun goddess. A clown, and an orge fight over who gets to hold the sun before it is returned to the sun goddess. This is a small festival in the country side which is what makes it really great. There are only about a half a dozen of yatai (food booths). People crowd around the small stage to watch the traditional dance and costumes. Balls of mochi (soft paste made from rice) are thrown to the audience who jump and grab for the free-bees especially the little old ladies.
    To get there, continue on Route 20 toward Nagano into Mukawa. Past the pedestrian over pass and turn left immediately after the Shell gas station on the left. Continue until the road ends and turn right. Make the next left turn and continue to the Jinjya on the right. It takes about an hour by car from Kofu.

Publié dans Matsuri (fêtes)

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