Takayama Festival Photos
The Ebisutai float getting a check over during the second day of the Spring Festival.
These yatai floats symbolise the previous economic might of Takayama and the skill of their artisans, while the spring festival requests the gods to grant the people a good harvest and a peaceful year.
The yatai are only seen during the two annual festivals and are loaded with intricate hardwood carvings, lacquer-work, silk drapes and gold ornaments.
Some younger elements of the Gojunko procession.
Many of Takayama's residents take part in the huge Gojunko procession that winds around the town centre on both festival days. Traditional garb ranges from lowly farmer outfits through all the social classes and up to the Shogun who has it easy in a highly polished rickshaw. Musicians wail flutes and bang drums, lion dancers leap and chase evil spirits off the streets while the massive yatai gleam and rumble on.
Modern Japanese have a refreshing tolerance for ancient traditions to go with their modern habits.
From around 6.30pm on April 14th (and October 9th) only - weather permitting, twelve floats are loaded with hundreds of lights and creak and groan around the streets while melancholy flute sounds waft around and huge kodo drums fill the background with subsonic booms and tourists try not to get trampled in the crush. This is a VERY busy occasion.
The best float, Kaguratai, passes by one of Takayama's old central streets.
Old street, old shop, new kid.
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