"Matsuri" is the Japanese word for "Festival" which take place at various times throughout the year but are concentrated around the Summer season.
Here we see some folks carrying a Mikoshi - a vessel for the spirits and gods. Folks dressed up in traditional gear carry the Mikoshi on their shoulders and bob it up and down like you see in the video below.
Matsuri have a load of stalls which are usually either food or games. Here we see a load of Rilakkuma goodies up for grabs.
Matsuri look better at night time when the signs for each stall are lit up.
MIkoshi can be seen all over the gaff at this time of year. Here we see a bunch of people crowding round a Mikoshi being carried down our local shopping arcade.
This fellow gets up on to the Mikoshi to thank everybody for their support.
Lots of traditional festive fun to be seen on the streets of Tokyo. This photo was taken at Jiyugaoka. In other parts of Japan, many different types of matsuri are taking place like the Mizukake Matsuri below - a festival where water is splashed on people - lovely video.
Carrying the Mikoshi around is hard work (its heavy!) and you will see a huge group of carriers taking a rest form time to time.
Lanterns line the streets at this time of year in most neighborhoods. The head of the neighborhood comes round and asks if you would like to pay to have your lantern up which can cost anything from a few thousand yen.
If you do decide to have a lantern, you choose a name and they will paint it on the side.
And this is our lantern. Most people choose their own name or business name. We chose "Suenaga Mirai" [末永みらい] ^o^
Lanterns are lit up at night. Many folks will be out n about walking around the neighborhoods at night to enjoy the lantern lit roads.
This place is completely empty by day - no stalls and just a quiet road.
You will see boards like this dotted around here n there. Its a list of all the people who paid to have their lantern up and how much they paid.
A Mikoshi being prepared for the next day.
Lanterns light up the nearby tents where more Mikoshi are being prepared.
On the way home from a matsuri enjoying the lanterns that stretch out into each road.
A drummer beats on the drums while folks in yukata and traditional happi dance around in a circle.
The music and dance can be experienced by watching the video below.
At this time of year its normally quite warm but this Summer was particularly cool - t'was actually cold this night. Did you have a hot Summer as usual or was it abnormally cold?
Many matsuri take place inside a shrine. This shrine is near Himonya and has hundreds of stalls.
If you are going then take a load of spare change. Most snacks cost from about 500 yen.
One can find all manner of foods at a matsuri. Here we see a stall selling freshly made cookies.
You will also see a load of yourng children and girls playing about with balloons filled with water.
This is my fave snack - steamed potato.
When you get your potato, wallop on a healthy wad of butter and a handful of salt.
The popular stalls will have looong queues of people waiting for some grub.
Nights like this usually pass without incident despite the amount of alcohol being consumed.
A lot of grilled foods available for consumption.
The low temperature was probably the reason why there were considerably less folks dressed in yukata this year.
A stall selling hot spices - great for spiking your best friends meal when they are not looking.
Speaking of which, when I was a wee lad, I put a load of soy sauce in my uncles coke before ^^; Have you done something evil like this?
The Seasame Street gang wait to be taken home by a new master. Speaking of Sesame Street - its a bit different in Japan.
A stall with a load of Ponyo goodies. Does make me wonder if its all officially licensed though.
A load of inflatable goodies.
Castella cakes. The ones with custard in the middle taste great but the ones with nothing taste dry.
More Kingyo sukui action - this time the tub is lit up.
Fun to watch but dont think I'll bother after listening to your feedback - most of the fish caught here seems to die within a few weeks.
"Chin Chin" can be used to describe the sound of a bell but is usually used to refer to what we call "dolphin."
Here we can see folks lining up to get some baby castella called "Chin Chin Yaki" which look like this.
Ayu on a stick. Still cant bring myself to eat the whole thing including head and guts and poo sack. Is eating a whole large fish a specialty of yours?
Some traditional performances taking place at the stage in the shrine.
The red kanji you see on the stall on the right says "Koori" [氷] or "ice" and there they sell a traditional Japanese dessert which is shredded ice with a dollop of syrup.
The guy running this Kingyo sukui must be really annoyed that these customers are able to scoop out so many fish on one hoop!
The secret is to try to use the side of the hoop as much as possible - using the plastic bit means you lighten the pressure on the paper.
Some deep fried potato thingy - looked great but tasted like tall dried grass which had just been walked through by a cow with its bollocks dangling in the grass.
Regularly see some international foods like this chap selling kebab.
How about a game of pinball with your fave character before heading home?
Stomach filled and time to walk it off with a stroll taking the scenic route home.
Do you have festivals like this in your neck of the woods? When would be a good time to catch one?