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Mitama Festival

Last night I went to the Mitama festival at Yasukuni shrine.  It was the first time I had been to it and I was pretty impressed.  As Yasukuni is dedicated to those who died defending Japan, the festival is held in their honour.  I think it is one of those festivals that should be visited at least once in your lifetime.  The festival is held from July 13 to 16 each year with events being held from the morning till night.  Hopefully I'll be able to attend it during the daytime one year.  

The main road of Yasukuni, but looking down towards the Kudanshita area

I think it is one of those festivals that should be visited at least once in your lifetime as the 30,000 lanterns on the grounds are lit at night.  It is a really beautiful scene.  So there are lots of chances to get some really nice pictures of the lanterns and people in yukatas.  The best place for photos is the road that leads from the main entrance to the main shrine.  Both sides of it have rows and rows of big lanterns stacked six high and with the huge torii (gates at shinto shrines), it is very impressive.

The sun is down, the lanterns are lit and the crowd is out at Yasukuni

That area is really crowded at night especially when the omiksohi (portable shrhine) is out.  Everyone crowds around, trying to get a good shot, but with that many people there it can be pretty hard.  At Yasukuni you can also visit its war museum.  Whenever I go I always make sure I get a few shots of the Zero fighter they have on display, which is very good condition.

Girls in yukatas - a common sight at festivals like the Mitama

The main hall of Yasukuni

A picture of a picture

The Mitama Festival at its height and the area is packed 

Omikoshi (portable shrine) at the Mitama Festival

Looking towards the main hall of Yasukuni late on the Saturday afternoon

Rows and rows of lanterns

The Zero fighter at the war museum in Yasukuni

If there is one complaint about Mitama Festival it's that there are no yatai (food stalls) there.  They were all banned from the festival a few years ago as rubbish had become quite a problem apparently.  I miss the food and drink but at least the grounds are really clean.  If you want to learn more about Yasukuni shrine, you can visit its website here.