Now it’s time for exciting summer festivals!
In Matsumoto, today and tomorrow (July 25th-26th), the 22nd Annual Matsumoto Castle Taiko Drumming Festival is being held. It is very popular and features some of the best taiko groups from all over Japan. You can enjoy massive performance of the taiko drums with the beautiful silhouette backdrop of the castle.
Another famous taiko matsuri (festival) will be held in Okaya (near Lake Suwa) on August 13th & 14th. One reason for its popularity is that every year 300 drummers play taiko at the same time.
Also, some traditional shrine festivals are held in summer. Last night (July 24th), I went to Fukashi Shrine to celebrate the eve of Tenjin Festival in Matsumoto. A great many local people, especially young people and high school students, were visiting the shrine and enjoying walking along the many street stalls set up for the festival. The atmosphere around the shrine was vigorous. I felt as if I had been transported through time to Japan in the 1960s.
The festival is to pray for Tenjin-God, and in the afternoon, 300-year-old mikoshi (a symbol of the shrine which people carry) and 100-year-old 18 floats will parade in down town area.
In August, firework festivals like the famous Lake Suwa Firework Festival and citizens’ street dancing parade festivals like Matsumoto Bonbon and Nagano Binzuru will be held!