The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Beach Life (almost)

A mikoshi waits in a shrine before the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

A mikoshi waits in a shrine before the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

Three mikoshi on the streets of Chigasaki during the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

Three mikoshi on the streets of Chigasaki during the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

A mikoshi and supporters cross a bridge o¥ver the railway tracks as they head towards the coast during the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

A mikoshi and supporters cross a bridge o¥ver the railway tracks as they head towards the coast during the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

One of my favourite events in Japan is the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki.

This very spectacular festival takes place in the middle of July every year and involves about 40 mikoshi or portable shrines winding their way down from shrines all over the areas to Southern Beach in time for sunrise. When they have been blessed in a Shinto ceremony the tired, often rather drunk, carriers take them into the surf to cleanse them.

It is manic fun and not a little dangerous for the camera as the waves come roaring in to break over the mikoshi and their supporters.

I have written about the festival before here and here.

This Monday’s sunrise was rather grey and flat to tell the truth and the festival seemed overcrowded and a little lacking in energy due to the close, muggy atmosphere. Not the best one I’ve experienced.

Yet I did do something different for particular this visit. Have got a contact in one of the teams carrying the mikoshi I managed to follow the procession through the night. The best part was in the centre of Chigasaki itself when  three mikoshi came together outside the station before crossing the tracks and heading towards the sea. See images above.

I was tired and sweaty but what a great night of mayhem on the streets of this otherwise nondescript Kanagawa town.

Tempted to do it all gain next year too.

More images of the Hamaorisai matsuri in Chigasaki here:

Later

Damon

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4 responses

  1. 2nd pic is fucking great!

    July 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm

  2. Cheers Adrian mate! yes I was so so tired though by the end of the day.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:19 pm

  3. Pingback: Getting into the festival (matsuri) spirit! | madeinmatsue

  4. Pingback: U-Matsuri « Life in Japan with Lady Caladium

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