These days, a big festival, the Sanja Matsuri (三社祭) centered around the Asakusa Shrine is going on. Today was the first big day with a parade and some ritual dances.
My friend Linda and I dressed up in our new Yukatas. Of course the dressing was a cause of major distress. I had to restart from scratch because of a nasty fold and an uneven seam line. When we finally arrived at the temple, the parade was just arriving. Different groups of people dressed in different traditional clothes passed by. The most recognizable were the geisha. There was even a group dressed up as herons.
After a while, the traditional dance inside the shrine started. Since it was inside and we were standing outside, we could not see very well. But it involved several people taking turns entering what was probably two dragon costumes and then going up and down and turning around. Personally, I thought the heads of the beasts looked more like lion’s heads, but because of the resemblance to Chinese dragon costumes, we settled on it probably being dragons. The music consisted of the usual pipes and drums. Like many Japanese rituals, also this one was a bit on the unspectacular side, so we did not wait until the very end.
On the whole, Linda and I were widely remarked and photographed for being dressed in Yukatas.
Tomorrow will probably be the most exciting of the three festival days.
More to come –