Hamaorisai Festival is one of the most anticipated festivals in Japan as it signals the start of the summer season. The ceremony begins before the sun rises and ends around 9 am. I stayed at my friend's place the night before, took the first train and still arrived late (and even thought of missing the main event). I and a group of friends joined the hundreds of Japanese and foreigners who troop down to Chigasaki Beach to be a part of the sacred spectacle.
Just before the sun summons its rays, spectators, hobbyists and photographers already position themselves to decent spots to capture and document the said event. No one cared how hot the sun breathing was. Everyone wants to have a clear view of the event as it unfolds.
Before the mikoshis (portable shrines) are carried to the ocean by the devotees, a ritual was held to sanctify all the participants for a good and prosperous year to come. Though I didn't understand the entirety of the ceremony, it was in Japanese, I can certainly feel its purpose and intent.
After receiving the well deserved blessings, devotees carried their mikoshis to the sea, a way of purification. It looks so easy in the photos but it takes strength, determination and patience to successfully challenge the weight as well as the waves that are coming along the way. But despite of the physical difficulties and struggles, each face of the disciple exudes an aura of contentment and of joy.
a devotee's niche
ordained by salty blessing
treasures of the ocean
And it must be noted the children let their presence felt too. Though they only stay at near shore they are still proofs that tradition and customs are not always about age and generation.
As a foreigner living in Japan, it was a very interesting and enriching experience for me. Hamaorisai Festival is one of the festivals that I will be looking forward from now on. And to all the devotees, much respect to all of you. A well deserved rest is what you all need.
Wishing everyone a fruitful year ahead.
I like the last photo. :)ReplyDelete
wow!! amazing!! too many people!!ReplyDelete
thanks pot! saan ka na ba? paramdam ka uyDelete
How amazing, all the different ways that people around world welcome summer : ), great pictures as ever of course!ReplyDelete
Thanks Hannah! It's crazy here! Japanese love summer!Delete
ako din! last photo fave!ReplyDelete
gaya gaya hahaDelete
sa susunod kasali ka na dun sa nagkakarga? LOLReplyDelete
tayo ang kasali dun adikDelete
The last photo speaks so well of a very relaxing rest, John. I love experiences like this involving other cultures, i am glad you were able to bring yourself to the event.ReplyDelete
i have to wake up early ms beth haha. wala na ligo ligo para lang mahabol ang first train hahaDelete
galing sa susunod maging devotee ka na rin.. heheReplyDelete
oo naman. haha. adik. teka, dapat sa Thailand na next adventure natinDelete
Very nice. Your shots tell stories the way Boston Globe's Big Picture does. http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/ReplyDelete
Thanks Steph. Thanks for sharing the link too :-)Delete
What a great record of this particular event. The customs and rituals of our lives should be recorded and preserved as we are tending to be turned into boring sameness with multiculturalism thus losing important traditions.ReplyDelete
Agree. It should be continued so that new generation can still understand the traditions practiced by their ancestors.Delete
Thank you for taking us along to the festival through your pictures and words... fascinating!ReplyDelete
My pleasure Josie :-)Delete
Ocean indeed holds so many treasures.. well said..and well done..ReplyDelete
definitely. :-) thanks!Delete
love that niche!!ReplyDelete
a beautiful pictorial and commentary on a unique and fascinating tradition from the Far East...you are so fortunate to have been in the midst of that 'salty blessing'....ReplyDelete
hi joanne, i am not sure until when I will be staying in Japan so i am grabbing all the opportunities i can have :-)Delete
I was only there for 4 months, but I miss Japan. Thank you for sharing part of your world. :)ReplyDelete
Come back to Japan then :-)Delete
Such a fascinating ritual. And where it involves the ocean it is all the more significant to see. Great write totomai!ReplyDelete
Thanks Hank! the ocean is a jewel itselfDelete
Beautiful photography..so rich..a real treasure..aptly matched by your words..JaeReplyDelete
you have been tagged...!ReplyDelete
Looks like a beautiful celebration of the season!ReplyDelete
it was, Sanday!Delete
I had no idea aabout that festival- now I do! Thank you for the enlightenment--- and I love the last 3 photos! Fantastic!ReplyDelete
Thanks Patti! It's my first time to experience this kind of festival too.Delete
Thanks Teuvo :-) Thanks for visiting, I'll be checking your blog site too.ReplyDelete
Oh wow... lots of people! I love the last photo too. :)ReplyDelete
they really love summer here hahaDelete
nice photos =)ReplyDelete
I've always been fascinated to the Japanese culture although I haven't been there yet. Interesting blog post and as always, I love the photos! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks actually it was one of Sumi's request to share more about JapanDelete