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Update from Coordinator for International Relations August 2018・国際交流員日記8月2018年

印刷ページ表示 更新日:2018年9月11日更新

霊山太鼓祭り ・ Ryozen Taiko Festival 2018年8月19日


The Ryozen Taiko Festival is a two day event, with live concerts, comedic acts, and of course, taiko drum performances! This year it was held at Hobara Town’s Sougou Park, next to the Former Kameoka Family Home (a few minutes’ walk from the Abukuma Express Line’s Oizumi Station). Usually, you need to buy a ticket in the adjacent history museum and enter the house through the back, but during the festival, entry was free and the front door was wide open!


旧亀岡住宅 旧亀岡住宅

Date Masamune and Megohime took the stage, followed by a number of musical performances and most notably, the comedy duo “Sandwich Man.” One half of the duo, Mikio Date-san, has ancestors who lived in Date. At one point he jokes that Date City is a small place and everyone was there in the audience. It was a joke, but there really were a lot of people and there were certainly enough food stalls to feed everyone in town.


 霊山太鼓祭りストール Ryozen Boulderland Project

There were other activities, including a bounce house and multiple festival games. The Ryozen Boulderland Project was represented by a climbing wall! 

 他にはふわふわ遊具や複数のお祭りのゲームがありました。霊山町のRyozen Boulderland Projectはボルダリングの壁に代表されていました!

太鼓 太鼓

太鼓 太鼓

But the main event was the taiko drums. Taiko drum players from all over the city showed up in their distinctive happi. There was even a performance by high schoolers! At one point several groups were playing simultaneously as everyone crowded around them.


霊山太鼓祭り 旧

On day two I arrived later to see the final taiko performance. Koi fish decorated by local students lined the path to the park. The Kameoka House was also lit up beautifully.


霊山太鼓祭り 太鼓

太鼓 花火

The festival’s finale was an incredible twenty minutes of un-interrupted taiko drumming, followed, in true Japanese summer festival fashion, by a fireworks display.


梁川祭り ・ Yanagawa Summer Festival 2018年8月12日

Yanagawa’s Summer Festival, also called the Date Hometown Summer Festival, is one of the largest festivals in Date! Food stalls, game booths, and street performances stretch the entire length of Yanagawa Town’s main street (nearby the Abukuma Express Line’s Yanagawa Station) and what seems like hundreds of people show up to take part.



In the afternoon, though, the street is cleared to make way for the bon odori dance — a parade of people marching steadily towards the Hirose River. It takes about half an hour, with everyone moving in synch, stopping often to clap with the song.


梁川夏祭り  須田市長

Every corner of the city is represented, including professional dance groups, the local elementary school, and members of city government!


太鼓  太鼓

When the final group reaches the bridge, the music stops and the river basin is filled with the sounds of taiko drums.


とろ流し  梁川夏祭り

Toro nagashi(lanterns meant to send the spirits of deceased family members home after Obon) are sent down the river behind the orchestra and chorus.


梁川夏祭り  梁川夏祭り

梁川夏祭り  須田市長

Every year that I’ve attended, they end the show with an epic rendition of the city’s theme song and a fireworks display.



I look forward to seeing it again next year!


保原祭り ・ Hobara Summer Festival 2018年8月11日

Hobara’s Summer Festival was held again this year at the Hobara Community Center and I was able to join the Date City Hall group, all of us clad in the best happi jackets I have ever seen.



We danced in the first bon odori dance in the afternoon, walking up and down the street while using tenugui towels to follow the movements of the professional dancers.



Then, when it was darker and all of the lanterns were lit, we danced again, joined by nearly all of the popular Disney characters, a whole crowd of Kikis from the popular animated film “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” Gintoki from the series “Gintama,” and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar from the famous children’s book. The second dance recalls the town’s Spring festival, the Tsutsuko-hiki Festival, during which newly harvested rice is tied and thrown to people in the crowd. The dancers’ hands mimic those motions. It’s easy to learn, so anyone can join in, even if you don’t have a group. Plus, if you stay until the end, your number might be called during the raffle!



The Hobara Community Center is easy to find (there’s a trolley next to the parking lot, where the Winter Illumination is every year). It’s only a five minute walk from the Abukuma Express Line’s Hobara Station.


梁川天神社 ・ Yanagawa Tenjin Shrine 2018年8月8日

Wandering around the streets of Yanagawa, you’re bound to come across a number of interesting places. One of the more extraordinary is the Yanagawa Tenjin Shrine.



Originally constructed during the Eikan Era (in the year 983), this shrine was built before the foundation of the Date Clan!


It was relocated and rebuilt a number of times before the current structure was built in 1894. For all of these centuries it has served as a place for locals to pray to the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, a Heian Period scholar, revered as Tenjin, the god of learning.


梁川天神社   梁川天神社小さい牛

Because Sugawara Michizane was born in the year of the ox, oxen are often depicted as his companions. Shrines dedicated to Tenjin often feature a statue of an ox, and Yanagawa Tenjinja is no exception! If you pet the head of the ox, there’s a chance you’ll become smarter!



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