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Misogi Fesitival in Kikonai

Every year from January 13th to 15th, Misogi festival takes place in Kikonai town, which is located east of Hakodate and one-hour-by-car distance. About Misogi festival, please refer to my former post of February 21st, 2011.

It is really cold this winter and I was concerned about how cold it would be for the four boys who did the purification ceremony.

purification boys going ahead the sea

In the photo above you see the four half naked boys(they are called "gyoshusha" which means trainees) are going ahead to the beach to purify the icons of deity in the sea. According to the announce, it was 8 degrees celsius below zero at 9:00 in the morning and the temperature of the sea water was 2 degrees. Later an article of the local paper said it was minus 4.4 degrees at the time of the boys went to the sea. Please enlarge the photo below and see the four while dots in the sea. They are boys' heads. Noooh, I can't believe it!
purification in the sea

The last photo shows that the boys who purified the icons comes back to the shore and purify themselves again in front of the spectators on the temporally set up stage.
観客の前での水垢離
After purifying themselves, one boy sprinkled water to the spectators though the water was a little. If you are sprinkled the purifying water, it is said that your wish for the year will be realized.

How great the four young boys! It was really impressive!

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Obon Festival/お盆

In Hakodate, people celebrate Obon on July 13. Usually in most of other areas in Japan, Obon is celebrated on August 13th and most Japanese companies take obon holidays which usually lasts three days or some generous ones take a week or so.

Why people in Hakodate celebrate obon in July? One reason results from a fact that Meiji government started to use the solar calendar in 1873 instead of the lunar calendar.

If obon falls in August, it would be the time of Hakodate Hachimangu Shinto Shrine's annual Summer Festival which falls on Agusut 15th. It would be busy (for most of Hakodate citizens who want to attend the festival? I'm not totally sure.) So monks who held their danka(Buddhist parishioners ) families gathered and decided "Let's celebrate obon in July in Hakodate!"

Now, I'd like to show you how to celebrate obon actually. Obon is a day when our ancestors' departed souls come home, so we decorate Buddhist family altar more than usual and prepare sekihan(red rice which is prepared on auspicious occasions.) and other dishes and show our delight saying "welcome home!!" Usually we visit our ancestors' graves, too.

Everything we are today, we owe our ancestors, don't we? Yesterday I visited my grandmother's and said hello to my ancestors offering incense to our family altar. Also I took a box of sweets as an offering.

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Annual Festival of Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine/函館八幡宮例大祭

Hakodate Hachimangu Shinto Shrine is the oldest shrine in Hakodate. This year they hold their annual festival on 14th and 15th of August. The climax of the festival is the carrying-up of its potable shinto shrine. About 100 people who carry the gorgeous 2 ton portable shrine dash up 134 stairs.
potable shrine of Hakohachi

This spectacular dash-up can be seen at 17:00 on 15th of August. This event is biannual so if you lose tomorrow, you have to wait until 2010.

The portable shrine will leave the Hachimangu Shrine at 11:00 and it is carried to JR Hakodate Station and then, returned to the Shrine.

To get to Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine, please refer to the following past entry.

An entry of the 2007's annual festival

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Hakodate Port Festival/函館港まつり

Did you go to see fireworks display on August 1st? It was the first day of the Hakodate Port Festival. On the 2nd and 3rd, there should have been held parades, but heavy rain prevented them.

Today, it is really fine day and this evening, from Jujigai intersection through Matsukaze-cho Streetcar Stop, a festival parade is held. How about go and see and if you like how about joining the parade? Ika-odori, or squid dance is easy to learn and it's no problem to join the dance.

After the parade, you can visit temporal festival stalls set up in Daimon area. You can reach to there in five-minute walk from JR Hakodate Station. Just walk toward Matsukaze-cho direction walking around the streetcar street.

Enjoy the summer festival time in Hakodate!

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Pageant at Goryokaku Park/五稜郭公園での野外劇

The time of Goryokaku pageant is arriving soon. You can find the posters here and there this year, too.

Goryokaku pageant which will take place at Goryokaku Park, a national special historic site, is being held this year too. This year sees the 16th times. It is said that the pageant was totally revised a few years ago, but after the revision, I've not seen the revised one. So this year I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Before the revision, I saw the pageant once and I participated it as a cast twice in a couple of years, 5 or 6 years ago, I believe. Both seeing and acting on the stage were extremely interesting.

Once there was a rumor that the pageant would be given up, but I hope this pageant will be supported and loved by citizens and add attraction to summer in Hakodate.

For more information about the pageant in English, click here.

More information in Japanese, click below.
http://www.yagaigeki.com/index.html

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Akiko

Author:Akiko
Akiko lives in a city next to Hakodate and loves to drive around Hakodate and surrounding area. I hope people who visit or live in the Southwest area of Hokkaido come to love the area, too.
函館の隣町在住で道南エリアのドライブ大好きAkikoです。道南を訪れたり、住んでいる人が土地を好きになってくれたらなぁ、と思います。

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