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Noda City / Yoshino 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / Ninjutsu Memories

The group gathers together to do more sight-seeing. To the right is a small Shinto shrine known as the "Fox Shrine". If I recall my Japanese mythology, the fox is considered a messenger.

A small Buddhist temple and to the right a thatched roof with moss and grass growing on it.

Once a year, a special festival is held in front of the Kinpusen-Ji, a temple in Yoshino. Local youth groups compete in a contest where they carry portable shrines. The shrines are quite heavy, and they carry a drummer who beats a taiko drum. In the foreground, and showing a lot of body-english, the leader of the group directs the lifting and lowering of the shrine as well as the snaky path the carriers walk. We were fortunate to be there on the festival day.

Braving the crowd, the photographer (me) risks being trampled as she gets her shot...almost...now why did they have to lift the shrine just then? I'm actually not as close as it looks, but I didn't have a lot of time to spend right in the path of these men and the shrine they carried. To the right a cheerful sake server sees the camera and makes a typical gesture---V for Victory.

Spirits were high and shrine-carriers and gaijin (foreigners) alike were served saké. Above are photos of one of the drummers taking a break (and perhaps about to grab that cup of saké the other guy is drinking?). The drummers sit inside the portable shrines in a very uncomfortable position requiring great strength. They sit on the "floor" with their toes hooked on the sides of the frame of the Taiko drum. The drum is at a slight angle upward and the drummer must keep his upper torso at about a 45-degree angle in order to drum.

Noda City / Yoshino 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / Ninjutsu Memories