It's the end of October and Fall is finally here; the leaves are changing colors, the vending machines are stocked with warm beverages and I froze my ass off biking down a mountain from the Fire Festival at Kurama. It was an eventful day with Jidai Matsuri in the morning and Hi Matsuri at night. I took a lot of great photos and enjoyed the spectacle of it all.
I shot over 800 photos throughout the day so its going to be hard to narrow them down... I'm gonna try.
The Jidai Matsuri is known as one of the "big three" festivals of Kyoto. The festival is a procession of clothing representing the different historical eras which Kyoto was the capital of Japan. (794-1868)
First up is the Royal Army of the Meiji Restoration. This movement was made up of young farmers who volunteered themselves to team up with the Royal Forces against the Shogun.
Patriots of the Meiji Revolution: this guy has a green train!
Then we have the Edo period (1600-1868): a lot of these women are dressed up as specific famous women from history. This lady above is dressed as a famous dancer.
Close up of Edo ladies with cool hats, the head wraps kind of reminds me of Star Wars.
These are images from the procession of Toyotami Hideyoshi, a very important figure in Japanese history. Hideyoshi implemented the practice that only samurai had the rights to bear arms, he built the Osaka castle and had a large influence over the Japanese tea ceremony.
He unified Japan under a single authority, but was never shogun.
I think this guy is from Lord Oda Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto. Lord Oda Nobunaga was a powerful feudal lord and came to assist in the reconstruction of the city. He successfully repaired the Imperial Palace and brought peace to the citizens.
More guys from Lord Oda Nobunga's procession... I think. I love that blue!
Whats in the box? Maybe presents!
I think now we are getting into the Muromachi period (1388-1573) These people are representing the triumphant entry of General Kusunoki Masashige into Kyoto. When the Emperor Godaigo was returning to Kyoto, this General who was very devoted to the Emperor went to Hyago to welcome him back.
I can't get over the beautiful armor these men wear.
Or these bright blue outfits either.
A pause in the parade gave me time to get a nice still.
Also a close up of this guys outfit... Who doesn't appreciate a good floral pattern?
Mini gongs,as you can probably tell there wasn't a lot of performance involved in the festival. The gongs and some of the wooden instruments were played while the participants walked.
Wooden stick instruments and colorful socks!
Women of the medieval ages would come up to the city to sell bundles of fire-wood and flowers on their heads.
Biggest umbrella ever! Did you know that only two things frequently get stolen in Japan?
Bicycles and umbrellas. Bicycles because drunken business men take them when they need a lift home. So it's important to never leave yours unlocked, umbrellas because the Japanese use umbrellas in all weather; sun, rain and snow. You will actually see umbrella locks at crowded places....
More men in multi patterned outfits with armour and swords. I totally dig it.
That hat looks really heavy though.
For the most part the horses seemed very nervous or downright unhappy about being in the parade. A few times I thought I was going to see someone get tossed.
Traditional weapons, shoes, armor and hats. The parade started near us at Kyoto City hall and ended at Heian Jingu Shrine. We had a great view of the festival from where we are but it probably wasn't as picturesque as having the Shrine in the background.
These ladies with clothes on their heads are from Katsura in the west outskirts of Kyoto, they would go into the city and sell fish and vegetables.
Here is the wife of Toyotami Hideyoshi, her name is Lady Yodo.
Then we have the Kamakura period (1192-1333) with many members of the Yabusame archers.
They are wearing deer skin on their legs to stay warm as these are their traveling clothes.
Next we are onto the Fujiwara period (897-1185) Less patterned outfits...
An archer with an exquisite hat.
Then is from the Heian Period (794-1185) This is Tomoe-Gozen, her husband was a general and she fought by his side wearing male armor. Maybe this inspired Mulan?
Women from the same era with outfits that seem very Chinese inspired.
I think the children look kind of creepy with their faces painted this way, like giant dolls that have come to life.
There were outfits like these throughout the parade for they were a traditional clothing for the common people.
More court nobles, wearing different colors according to their rank.
This child has the wings of a butterfly and an imaginary bird called a karyo-binga. It says these outfits are worn in Shinto rituals by the children and they are called gagaku.
Anyways, I thought they looked great.
Then we have the sacred carriages; one for Emperor Komei, the last ruler of Kyoto. The other is for Emperor Kanmu the Emperor who moved the capital from Nagaoka to Kyoto. They are attended by priests from the shrine.
This guy's glare is intense.
Some more people from the procession, clad in pink and carrying large lanterns?
I have no idea what he's carrying but it reminds me of a lollipop.
Phew, that's it, that's all I'm posting! As you can see people of all ages participated in the parade and foreigners and the locals lined the streets to catch a glimpse and to photograph the annual procession of Jidai Matsuri. I tried my best to include a lot of my favorite costumes and to put them in order, which was quite a challenge.
The Festival ended and my buddies and I made our way to a ramen place for some quick lunch and then hopped back on our bikes so that we could catch the Hi Matsuri at night in Kurama.
Coming up... Fire, nudity and biking a mountain! What's not to like?