A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

A rest before pulling those very heavy floats

Festie floats

Rickshaw man and customers

More floats

Happy float men (an Erica pic)

Festie fast food (an Erica pic)

Finale of puppet performance, the two little ones just having somehow swung...

Shinto priests doing the festival thing

Float on the move

Night time float

Night time parade

Night float


Lion Dancer



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Night time floats

Today we changed to our new hotel, overlooking the oldest temple in town and its lovely wooden pagoda, then went off to check out the festival floats. The Hachiman Festival (one of Japan`s top three) is today and tomorrow. The main event involves pulling these very large and heavy extremely ornate floats around the picturesque old part of town (Takayama is very picturesque). The floats are amazing, as is the dress of most of the people involved. The weather was good for a change, good job as if there was any rain the very precious and vulnerable old floats would have been kept indoors.

So first we checked out the stationary floats, then watched a Shinto ceremony that kicked off the proceedings, which were basically the local god`s annual outing around town. Then a large crowd watched this slow, stately puppet show which we couldn`t work out at all how it was done, as puppets did acrobatics, etc. Then a few of the floats did a bit of a parade. We escaped from the crowds for the early afternoon up into the hills around town looking at temples and trees, etc, very nice. Even nicer, we got back to our hotel to find the wonderful receptionist had sorted out our accomodation for us in Kanazawa for the next two days, something we had both failed to do despite numerous attempts (things book up heavily at weekends).

And then the highlight, which was the night-time parade, one night only and the whole reason we had to get another night here at all costs! It was great stuff. All 10 or so of the floats were out, all covered in lanterns, Japanese music playing, and led by lion dancers. It was very crowded indeed, and lots of pushy westerners sad to say, but still amazing to see, and we were both really glad we had.

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