Toyohama Tai Matsuri

Tai Matsuri, or red sea bream festival, is a festival of sea men held in the fishing port of Toyohama on the Chita peninsula, about 350 km west of Tokyo. Five red sea breams made of white cotton cloth on the bamboo and wooden frames in the length of 10m to 18m are carried by young men and march in the towns and the sea. The festival is held on Saturday and Sunday that fall on around July 20 annually at the fishing port.

The event starts early on the Saturday morning with a parade of giant fish carried through the town by a rotation of up to 60 men in traditional festival garb, happi coats and headbands. After floating through the town, the five giant bream make a mad dash to the seaside, and to be blessed by the priest at the shrine set up specially for the occasion. There’s a great deal of showing off by the float bearers, who try to get as close to the crowd as possible without actually crashing into them, and also show off their strength by lifting the floats up and down to immitate the motion of the waves….

The festival goes on for two days, and comes to a conclusion when the largest of the floats is taken ceremoniously down into the sea and allowed to float off – sadly, I missed that part as I had already left to attend the Owari Tushima festival, a three-hour drive…

I’m afraid I don’t have time to add photos as its late and I’m off tomorrow early to attend another round of matsuri, so I will have to leave you for the time being with just a video clip – which unfortunately does not quite bring across just how vibrant and fun this festival was…

 

Total number of other foreigners attending apart from me: One Taiwanese couple living in Tokyo, a Chinese tourist and a handful of South Americans, obviously living around Nagoya, about 30km to the north of Toyohama.

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