For Today’s Japan Photo, we will be enjoying the lovely dance for the opening ceremony of the Hanagasa Matsuri 花笠祭り, which is very popular and considered one of the major festivals of Tohoku region.
Although it was first held as a festival in 1964 so is relatively new, the Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri attracts more than 1 million spectators over three days. It is commonly included among the four greatest festivals of Tohoku, together with the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri (Sendai City), Aomori Nebuta Matsuri (Aomori City) and Akita Kanto Matsuri (Akita City).
A hanagasa is a hat decorated with artificial flowers. At the Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri, dancers wearing the same costume per group and holding hanagasa hats adorned with Yamagata Prefecture’s unique safflowers parade through the main street of Yamagata City. About 100 groups of a total of 10,000 dancers participate in this dance. The parade is led by gorgeously decorated festival floats.
Image Credit: MSN Sankei