Inuyama Festival

Last weekend we were extra busy, main event in the city during spring period if not the for whole year.This is one of the biggest festivals in the area it's been going for almost 400 years.As in many other cities around Japan pushing or carrying the Float around city is the main event trough out festivals . Other famous festivals are in Kyoto (Gion matsuri) and Gifu (Takayama matsuri) .Inuyama have 13 floats,which represented number of districts in old Inuyama. In local terminology Dashi(float) it's called Yama (meaning mountain) due the height of the floats,of which some are over 8,5 m. and weight over 3.5 tons, I've been part of the festival since I've move back here in 2000.My family house is in old city so we have the obligation to participate.Although it seams simple it is fairly complex thing,First ,The float itself have number of appearances and it acts as a stage for different activities.Day time mode during which Karakuri performance is done.The stage for it is on top level(Ua Yama)of the float. Karakuri are automata dolls.Kinda old robot like things,Don't get me wrong ,movement it's not automatic , people still control them from beneath(Naka Yama) during the play,but it's surely complicated and can do some serious moves like flipping around horizontal bar,which considering time when they're made some 200 years ago was pretty radical thing to do.The lover level or Shita Yama carries a drum section and flute players called wakai shu (young ones) since the youngest of the drum players are about 4 years old.The music (hayashi) is constant as long as float moves and differ from district to district.Tempo and theme are changed according to the movement of the float.
Two times on a Sunday were allowed to do Donden Gaeshi ,which is lifting the one side of the float turn the float 180 or 90 degrees depending on the place,and move it down the street as far as possible this is Three and Half ton plus six people on top of it I'm talking about,Tekko or the pushers are the one who have the whole fun,but to tell you the truth it's most satisfying part to do.Macho shit I guess.With the sun set Floats get the new robe,Yoyama or night float have 365 chochins or the paper lanterns are placed and lit up . Cool site to see.


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