Showing posts with label Iwate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iwate. Show all posts


Iwate Prefecture


. Regional Festivals - From Hokkaido to Okinawa .


Iwate Prefecture - 岩手県

the second largest prefecture of Japan after Hokkaido. It is located in the Tōhoku region of Honshū island and contains the island's easternmost point.
The capital is Morioka.
Iwate has the lowest population density of any prefecture outside Hokkaido.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Iwate - Entries of this BLOG .


. Chaguchagu umakko ちゃぐちゃぐ馬っこ
Chaguchagu horse festival .

June 15 or second sunday in June. Takizawa village 滝沢村

. Gyokusui no en 曲水の宴(きょくすいのえん)
Poetry party at the meandering stream .

Gokusui no En "Winding Stream Festival". Hiraizumi Town

. Hayachine Kagura 早池峰神楽 .
Hanamaki matsuri 花巻まつり Hanamaki festival

. Hiraizumi Fujiwara Matsuri 平泉藤原祭 .
Chusonji Chrysanthemum Festival (Hiraizumi Town)
Fujiwara Fall Festival (Hiraizumi Town)

Jomon Fire Festival in Iwate Prefecture

. Motsu-Ji Ennen no Mai 毛越寺延年の舞 .
night festival on January 20. Hiraizumi

. Oni kenbai 鬼剣舞 "demon sword dance" .
Hanamaki town


Sansa Odori さんさ踊り Sansa Dance

August 1 - 4, Morioka

Over 10,000 taiko drummers and dancers parade through the city; Sansa is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest taiko drum festival in the world.

Legend has it that Sansa dance began when a wicked demon was punished by the god of Mitsuishi Shrine 三ツ石神社. The god made the demon swear that he would never do bad deeds again, and as a sign of his pledge, the demon placed his hand on a large rock and left a hand print. The locals rejoiced, dancing around the rock.
This story explains the origin of Sansa, as well as the name “Iwate,” which means “rock hand.”

The choreography for the main Sansa Odori parade on Chuodori Street is modern and simplified, but you can also see traditional and more dynamic Sansa dances at other venues such as Ekimae Hiroba in front of the station and at various halls.
The dancers shout: “Sakkora Choiwa Yasse, which is a call to bring in good luck.
source :

Morioka Sansa Dance Festival in Morioka City of Iwate Prefecture is a Bon Odori, a Buddhist dance festival held every year to honor the deceased spirits of ancestors.
source :

. sansa odori さんさ踊り Sansa Dance Dolls .


. shishi odori, shika odori 鹿踊り dance of the deer .
at O-Bon in August


External LINKS :

Hidaka Hibuse Festival ( Oshu City )

Iwate Snow Festival ( Shizukuishi Town )

Kitakami Michinoku Geino Festival
( Perfoming Arts Festival )
first Saturday of August. Kitakami city

Morioka Fireworks Festival ( Morioka City )

Shishi-Odori ( Deer Dance ) ( Throughout Iwate )

Tono Festival
3rd weekend of September
Tono Dobekko Festival ( Tono City )

source :


- Iwate Summer Festivals -
Kamaishi Yoisa Festival
Miyako Summer Festival
Oshu Mizusawa Festival
Sanriku Ofunato Summer Festival
Tsuchizawa Tanabata Festival
Yamase Merchant Festival
source :

- Reference -

Related words

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan - GANGU . 

. Regional Dishes from Japan - WASHOKU .

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Hiraizumi Festivals


Hiraizumi Fujiwara Festival
(Hiraizumi Fujiwara Matsuri)

***** Location: Hiraizumi, Iwate, Japan
***** Season: Late Spring
***** Category: Observance


Hiraizumi Fujiwara Matsuri
平泉藤原祭 (ひらいずみふじわらまつり)
Fujiwara Festival in Spring

May 1-5

The Spring Festival begins on May 1 with memorial services for the four generations of Fujiwaras who ruled the area through the twelfth century. It reaches its peak on May 3, when roughly 100 people recreate Minamoto no Yoshitsune’s Eastern Flight in a parade from Motsuji to Chusonji.
With long parades in traditional robes.
Parade of children and sacred dancing. Athletic games are also held.

During the festival there is a Noh performance at a thatched roof stage near the temple.

CLICK here for more photos

. Minamoto no Yoshitsune 源の義経 (1159 - 1189) .
- Introduction -


Hiraizumi (平泉町, Hiraizumi-chō)
is a town located in Nishiiwai District, Iwate, Japan. It was the home of the Hiraizumi Fujiwaras for about 100 years in the late Heian era and most of the following Kamakura period. At the same time it served as the de facto capital of Oshu, an area containing nearly a third of the Japanese land area

The first structure built in Hiraizumi may have been Hakusan Shrine on top of Mount Kanzan (Barrier Mountain). A writer in 1334 recorded that the shrine was already 700 years old. Although rebuilt many times, the same shrine is still standing in the same location.

In about 1100 Fujiwara no Kiyohira (藤原清衡) moved his home from Fort Toyoda in present day Esashi Ward, Oshu City to Mount Kanzan in Hiraizumi. This location was significant for several reasons. Kanzan is situated at the junction of two rivers, the Kitakami and the Koromo. Traditionally the Koromo River served as the boundary between Japan to the south and the Emishi peoples to the north. By building his home south of the Koromo, Kiyohira (half Emishi himself) demonstrated his intention to rule Oshu without official sanction from the court in Kyoto. Kanzan was also directly on the Frontier Way, the main road leading from Kyoto to the northern lands as they opened up. Kanzan was also seen as the exact center of Oshu which stretched from the Shirakawa Barrier in the south to Sotogahama in present day Aomori Prefecture.

Kiyohira built the large temple complex on Kanzan known as temple Chūson-ji 中尊寺(ちゅうそんじ).
CLICK for more photos The first structure was a large pagoda at the very top of the mountain. In conjunction with this he placed small umbrella reliquaries (kasa sotoba) every hundred meters along the Frontier Way decorated with placards depicting Amida Buddha painted in gold. Other pagodas, temples and gardens followed including the Konjikido 金色堂, also called "Shining Hall" (Hikarido 光堂), a jewel box of a building intended to represent the Buddhist Pure Land and the final resting place of the Fujiwara lords.

Hiraizumi's golden age lasted for nearly 100 years, but after the fall of the Fujiwaras the town sank back into relative obscurity, and most of the buildings that gave the town its cultural prominence were destroyed. When the poet Matsuo Bashō saw the state of the town in 1689 he penned a famous haiku about the impermanence of human glory:

Natsu kusa ya! Tsuwamono-domo ga yume no ato

Ah, summer grasses!
All that remains
Of the warriors dreams.

The town's historical monuments and sites have been inscribed as
UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2011.

Fujiwara no Hidehira
藤原秀衡 (1122? - 1187)
was the third ruler of Northern Fujiwara in Mutsu Province, Japan, the grandson of Fujiwara no Kiyohira.

He offered shelter to the young Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who was escaping Kyoto. For many years, Hidehira was Yoshitsune's benefactor and protector, and it was from Hidehira's territory that Yoshitsune joined his brother at the start of the Genpei War. Later, when Yoshitsune incurred his brother Minamoto no Yoritomo's wrath, he returned to Hiraizumi, and lived undisturbed for a time. Yoshitsune was still Hidehira's guest when the latter died in 1187.

Hidehira had his son promise to continue to shelter Yoshitune and his retainer Benkei, but the son gave into Yoritomo and surrounded the castle with his troops, forcing Yoshitsune to commit seppuku (his head would be preserved in sake and given to Yoritomo) and resulting in the famous standing death of Benkei. Yoritomo destroyed the Fujiwara domain and killed Hidehira's son.

Hidehira's corpse became a mummy, preserved today within the Konjiki-dō of Chūson-ji.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

- quote -
秀衡塗 Hidehira-nuri Lacquerware
Designated a traditional craft of Iwate Prefecture, Hiraizumi’s Hidehira-nuri lacquerware has been widely manufactured in Japan. Its simple, refined aesthetic presents a reflection of the history and natural features of the region of its birth.
Its origin
traces back to Fujiwara Hidehira, who controlled the Tohoku area during the Heian Period (794-1185), including Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture. When he created great Buddhist structures in Hiraizumi such as the Konjikido (Golden Hall) of Chusonji Temple, he ordered the craftsmen he had invited from Kyoto to also manufacture new types of lacquerware. In scriptures made in the Kansei years (1789-1801) of the Edo Period, this episode is mentioned as “Hiraizumi’s Hidehira-nuri,” and it is also mentioned that the craft was highly prized by tea ceremony masters. The name still holds to this day.
With their striking glamour,
golden Hidehira bowls are said to be both the origin and symbol of Hiraizumi’s Hidehira-nuri. When Hidehira asked the craftsmen to make the new lacquerware, he specified that they should use locally produced gold and lacquer. The bowls were made by painting lacquer onto the base wood, decorating it with designs such as Genji-gumo (the Genji cloud), a popular wave-shaped cloud motif where clouds were represented with golden sheets, and kicho (lucky symbols) featuring paintings of lucky animals, and finally accented with gold sheets cut into rhombus shapes. This traditional decoration style used black, vermilion and gold as its fundamental colors, and the form still continues to this day.
Production of Hidehira-nuri
can be divided into four steps. First, according to the intended use of the product, timber such as tochi (Japanese horse chestnut) and keyaki (Japanese zelkova) are carefully dried out—a process that can take anywhere from one to ten years—to form the base wood. Lacquer is then painted onto the base wood and polished to form a foundation. The third step, painting, involves layers of lacquer being painted onto the foundation. In the final step, gold sheets are applied to the object to complete the design.
Hiraizumi’s Hirahide-nuri can take the form of tableware, traditional kokeshi Japanese dolls, smart phone cases and various other products. With its refined design, beautiful gloss of lacquer and glamorous golden sheets, Hirahide-nuri is a pleasure simply to gaze upon.
- source : -

. Mingei - Iwate Folk Art - 岩手県  .

. urushi 漆 laquer ware .


. Tsuwamono, Benkei and Yoshitsune  弁慶と義経   
More about Hiraizumi and the famous haiku by Basho

. Temple Motsuji (Mootsuuji 毛越寺)  
and the dance Ennen no Mai 延年の舞, another KIGO

. 弁慶の力餅 Benkei no Chikaramochi
Rice dumplings for the strong Benkei
Served as a local speciality.


Hiraizumi's other main festivals are

Hiraizumi Daimonji Festival, O-Bon, August 16
Autumn Fujiwara Festival November 1-3

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Fudoo Doo 不動堂 Fudo Hall at Chuzon-Ji

source :

This hall has been erected in 1977.
On the 28th of each month fire rituals for Fudo are held here.
The statue of Fudo Myo-O dates back to 1684, offered by the wish of the daimyo of Sendai, Date Tsunamura 伊達綱村 (1659 - 1719) for peace in the realm.

. Fudō Myō-ō, Fudoo Myoo-Oo 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
Acala Vidyârâja – Vidyaraja – Fudo Myoo .


hyakusho no ko ga noo narau Fujiwara sai

a farmer's child
learns to perform Noh ---
Fujiwara festival

Suzuki Takuo 鈴木田句男

yokagura no daija chiisaku tatamaruru

the eight-headed
serpent folds so small . . .
night performance of Noh

Shirato Harue 白戸春恵

More Japanese haiku about Hiraizumi


CLICK for more photos

Hikaridoo yori hitosuji no yukige mizu

from the Golden Hall
one straight line of
melt water

Arima Akito 有馬朗人 (1930 - )
Scientist and Haiku Poet
ISBN: 1-929820-01-1

. Arima Akito, the Haiku Poet  

External LINK

This month of March 2011 has been one of the greatest challenges faced by the people of the Tohoku. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit the heartland of the ancient Tohoku, and though the population has changed since then I say with a heavy heart that this was the historical area where many Emishi had lived in the distant past. To put this in historical context there was another earthquake and tsunami that occurred almost in the exact same location some one-thousand, one-hundred and forty years ago in AD 869.

The earthquake known as the Jougan Earthquake (Jogan Earthquake 貞観地震) and tsunami (occuring during Emperor Jougan's reign) that followed swept through what is now Taga Castle 多賀城 and the Castle town that had developed around it during and after the Tohoku Wars. In 869 there was much loss of life, and was the scene of great devastation again this month. At this time it may not be appropriate to address the loss of archaeological and historical sites but I cannot help but wonder how these sites have fared.
. Emishi, External LINKS


. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

- #hiraizumi #fujiwarahidehira #hidehira -