Kurayami Matsuri

In May, I attended the Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival) held at Okunitama Shrine in Fuchu City, Tokyo. It was one of the biggest festivals I have been to. It lasted for a few days but I only went there once.The day I attended was the day of the mantou competition (万灯大会): It is a contest between neighbourhood groups about which team can hold a decorated pole and twirl it around the longest. There were also other events involving mikoshi and children dancing to hayashi music. Unfortunately, I missed the main event, which is the carrying of mikoshi in the darkness.

Above, shishi (lion) dancers.

Above, hayashi dancing by children.

Above, hayashi dancing by children. I love the masks! Boys wear Hyottoko masks and girls Okame masks.

Above, gate of Okunitama Shrine.

Above, mantou pole before the competition.

Above, mikoshi.

Above, start of the mantou competition.

Above, one of the famous drums.

Above, it is considered good luck to shake hands with the dancer.

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