This past weekend I went with fellow photographer Anthony Wood to the Narita Gion Matsuri. Since coming back to Japan in 2012, I haven’t been to that many festivals, so when Anthony invited me to join him at this one, I was excited to take him up on it. And this one did not disappoint! From the crowds to the floats, the atmosphere is a wonderful mixture of playful and traditional. I could say more, but I think I’ll try to let the photos do most of the talking:
The people working with the floats have to pull the whole thing up (or slowly let it descend) this hill during the festival. Thankfully, hundreds of people get together to help make this happen!
This guy looked like he was really enjoying himself!
This particular float ran across some logistical troubles it seemed. They were stuck in this spot for a good 20 minutes or more, waiting for another float to make its way by, as this was the only spot that would let them pass. As the float came by, the men atop it raised their lanterns in some kind of festival salute.
As night falls, the festival doesn’t slow down. As you can see below, people still crowd the streets and the energy of the festival remains.
During the course of the festival, spectators in upper floors of various shops hold out donations of different types for the passing floats. Usually it was money, but I didn’t really pay attention to see all the different exchanges. Of course, this means a lot of stops along the way for the floats!
I hope you enjoyed the photos, and if you ever get a chance to visit the Narita Gion Matsuri, definitely give it a go! And bring your camera! 🙂