27 May 2011

Ohara-me procession

 Girl Portrait, Ohara-me procession
 Kyoto 2011

Ohara is a village North-East of Kyoto famous for its temples Ohara and Hosen-In as well as agriculture. The Ohara-me procession celebrates Ohara women elegant blue outfits since Muromachi era. It gathers women and girls from the village and its surroundings, starts in Jakko-in up to Ohara temple.

Woman portrait, Ohara-me procession
Kyoto 2011

22 May 2011

Kamogawa Odori, final days

 Maiko Shinaju after Kamogawa Odori
Kyoto 2011

Just a few more days to enjoy Kamogawa Odori, the spring dance performed by the Maiko and Geiko of Pontocho. It's 5:30 and 30 seconds. The show finished at 5:30pm sharp and they are already running back to their Okiya to get ready to work in the evening. They're still wearing the hikizuri (outfit) they used for the show.

Pontocho (Kyoto famous narrow street full of restaurants) is such a photogenic place. And with all of them, this is just perfect.

Momifuku, Mitsuna, Momiju, Hisasuzu, Tomoyuki
Kyoto 2011

Believe it or not, but these smiles from Mitsuna and Momiju are for me!

16 May 2011

Aoi Matsuri - Smile

Saio Dai Court
Kyoto 2011

Another post on Aoi Matsuri with these beautiful smiles. It was a real fight to approach the stunning characters of this festival through the crowd, but it was definitely worth it.

Portrait, Aoi Matsuri
Kyoto 2011

15 May 2011

Aoi Matsuri - Procession

Bull, Aoi Matsuri procession
Kyoto 2011

Aoi Matsuri main procession took place on May 15. Started at Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Park) up to the Kamo shrines. As always stunning characters and colorful parade.

Aoi Matsuri, Gosho - Imperial Park
Kyoto 2011

11 May 2011

Ujigami Matsuri, carrying the mikoshi

Exhausted, portrait
 Kyoto 2011

May sees plenty of festivals every day. These are always photogenic events. This is a portrait of a man carrying the Mikoshi at Ujigami Matsuri.
The Mikoshi is a portable shrine that is brought through every street and to every house supporting that temple. Participants receive a divine protection for another year. The Mikoshi is quite heavy and the procession last several hours, therefore all men look pretty exhausted at the end of the day. But if you live in the district or the village organizing the festival, you have to participate!

Sometimes it gets pretty dangerous with fire etc... like for this one.

 Teamwork, carrying the Mikoshi
 Kyoto 2011

4 May 2011

Aoi Matsuri - Purification

Mao-chan, portrait
Kyoto 2011

Sweet little Mao-chan. I hope to see her again during the main procession on May 15.

Aoi Matsuri is the festival of the 2 Kamo shrines, Shimogamo and Kamigamo.  It was once believed that Aoi flower (hollyhock) would protect against natural disasters. This is one of the "big three" festivals in Kyoto with Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri.

The main event is a procession held on May 15 with several characters dressed in costumes from the Heian court.  One of the main character, the Saio-dai is a woman who represents purity. These pictures were taken during a "purification ceremony" (saio dai misogi no gi) at Shimogamo on May 4.

Saio-dai, portrait
Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto 2011

Women accompanying the Saoi-Dai
Kyoto 2011

3 May 2011

A dream - Miyako Odori end ceremony

#Maiko Momokazu, Manaha, Mamesome, Ayano, Chisako, Ichiwaka, Takahina
Kyoto 2011

On May 1, Geiko and Oneesan from Gion kobu went to Yasaka shrine for the ceremony that ends Miyako Odori.

Yasaka shrine is so touristic that I didn't take many photos there so far. But this shrine means so much for all residents in Gion, not only during Gion Matsuri. This is the sacred place that protects them. By watching Gion-kobu Geiko and Maiko going there, as a natural step after Miyako Odori,  to pray and to thank the divinity that everything went well during Miyako Odori, I looked at it differently.

So I'm now thinking about Yasaka shrine for a future post...but coming back to the ceremony:

Maiko who participated to Miyako Odori didn't attend the ceremony but just went there to greet and thank their Oneesan and teacher.

It was really like a dream. It was unbelievable to see all of them at the same time dressed up so beautifully.

On the above picture, they are looking at their dance teacher with eyes full of respect. This is so beautiful.

After the greetings, they all returned to their Okiya in Gion followed by the usual crowd of photographers.

Maiko Makino, Mamechika, Takahina, Mamesaku, Ayano, Kyouka, Mamefusa, Mamesome
 Kyoto 2011

This is on Shijo dori, on the way to Hanami-koji.

 Maiko Mameyuri, Mamemaru, Manaha, Mamechika
 Kyoto 2011

This is the Northern part of Gion, near Shimbashi.

Maiko Kyouka, Mamesome (background Chisako, Katsuya)
Kyoto 2011

These two are friends. Is it the Osaka connection ? Anyway, it was the first time I heard them talking to each other using Osaka-ben (Osaka dialect) instead of the usual Kyoto-ben used by the Maiko and Geiko. This was maybe their way to relax a bit after an exhausting month. Lovely!