Sunday, September 2, 2012

Iwaishima Kanmai matsuri 2012


Went to one of my favorite matsuris 2 weekends ago, the Kanmai matsuri on the tiny island of Iwaishima in the Inland Sea off the yamaguchi coast. This young lady was one of the group of sanshin players waiting on the quayside to greet the flotilla of boats....


The two long rowboats returned to harbor after going around to the other side of the island to greet and escort the boats oming from Kyushu carrying the priests. The matsuri dates back to the ninth century and commemorates the time the islanders gave shelter to a boat from Kyushu carrying their kami back from the Kyoto area.


I guess there was less than a thousand visitors to the matsuri..... which meant the islands population had tripled for the day. The lone policeman didnt seem to have anything to do. The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, and good-natured.


The islanders had made it a little more commercial this year. There were T shirts, books, and postcards on sale to raise funds to pay the fine slapped on the islanders for their acts of civil disobedience in interfereing with the workers attempting to survey for the planned nuclear power station a few kilometers away on Kaminoseki.


The matsuri takes place every four years and for the next three days after the marine procession kagura will be performed in a temporary shrine. For such an old, interesting, and fun matsuri why so few visitors? because there is no Shinkansen station nearby.....



  1. Oh wow!
    This looks like such a fun and colorful festival.
    Too bad I missed it!
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Looks very interesting. Maybe next year I'll have a chance to see one.
    I'll keep reading your blog.
    Greetings from Poland! :)

  3. The matsuri is beautiful and especially your playing with light and shadow.

  4. I really love the first photo (of the woman in the straw hat) of today's post.

  5. I really love the first photo (of the woman in the straw hat) of today's post.