Japan is a country of festivals! And summer is the peak season for them!
Last Monday, Shiogama City in Miyagi held its annual Port Festival, a tradition which began in 1948, relatively recent from a Japanese perspective.
“Omikosi” make a tour of Shiogama’s streets 3 times a year: the “Hote” fire prevention festival (10 March), which has the longest history; the Spring Flower festival (late April); and the Summer Port and Harbor festival (4 & 5 August). The Port Festival is one of the 3 largest in Japan, and involves participants carrying “Omikosi” to the harbor to be loaded onto gorgeously decorated boats in the shape of a dragon and phoenix, which then cruise around Matsushima Bay. They are accompanied by hundreds of fishing boats flying brightly colored flags. The festival is to pray for good catches.
The city originally started this festival to raise hopes for the Japanese who had to rebuild their nation after World War II. Being just 50 miles away from Rikuzentakata, perhaps this festival will once again console the Japanese people in a time of need.