Hounen Matsuri 2/7
Very wide black and white image of the procession - use the scrollbar to see it.
Tagata Shrine holds this festival with a procession, called Hounen matsuri, once a year on March 15. It used to be a quiet festival where only locals from the small town of Komaki participated. It has be become famous in the mean time, with many Japanese, as well as foreigners, coming to visit this unique event. It rained very heavily this year, still about 60,000 people attended.
A priest throwing salt
to chase away bad spirits
The long procession starts at a small shrine and moves very slowly along the 2 km route to Tagata Shrine. The priest heading the procession throws salt, purifying the ground to ward off bad spirits.
Tengu, represented by a
red mask with a long nose
Next, Tengu walks along in Geta, or wooden sandals. Tengu is a goblin with a long nose, who lives in the mountains. He is proud and sometimes boastful.
Melancholic flute music
The next group passing by is playing Gakuraku, a melancholic music of bamboo flutes. This music sounds very strange when you hear it for the first time. It is played only at shrines.