Whew! Seems like with every passing day I am getting further and further behind in my personal photographic work. The files just keep piling on, while I can’t find the time to edit and post up the shots! I have to admit that this is a great problem to have, though, especially given my photographic drought in 2015.
Up for posting today is day two of my photographic journey in the Kansai region, specifically my time in Osaka at the Rice Planting Festival (Otaue Shinji) and a brief stop at the majestic Osaka Castle. For more information on the rice planting festival and its history, please see this link. Since I already made the fortunate mistake of arriving to Sumiyoshi-Taisha a day before the festival, I had a decent mental map of the area to navigate the grounds easily among all the visitors and performers. Note: a video recapping much of the festival’s events will be near the bottom of this post.
A couple hours before the main event at the ceremonial planting ground, performers readied themselves and marched in a line to one of the shrine’s inner gates.
Most of the planting area had seats, but these cost 1000 yen and did not provide a particularly great view, especially if sitting behind too many people. Instead, I found myself along many others huddling in the smaller standing area along another side. Of course, I had to pick the spot surrounded by flowers to distract me before the show began.
As the seats and standing area became packed by about 1 pm, the ceremony finally began with most of the performers and participants parading in, single file.
Soon after everyone surrounded the area, planters readied their boots and priests blessed the planting ground.
What followed was a constant stream combining ceremonial planters working the small field and other participants performing dances and songs for the audience.
If you already skipped ahead to video a little further down, you will see that the events seem to abruptly end by this point. Unfortunately my card error that prevented import of all videos after this event (including all of those from later in the trip… 😦 ) hit iMovie at this time. However, there was one final main event, the Sumiyoshi Odori, that I at least got photos from. This lively line dance comprises 150 young girls as they jump and twirl around the entire planting ground!
As everyone slowly cleared out of the area, I had a bit of freedom to move around and see the product of the planters.
With some time left in the day to kill before retiring back in my hotel, I figured it as good a time as ever to check out the towering Osaka Castle I have heard so much about. Thanks to some super-convenient subway lines, I made it in just over a half hour. I took my tendency of wandering around on the way to places into consideration, so I did get distracted by some other sights.
The sheer scale of the place just starts to dwarf people as they approach the large central island. Solid and studded metal gates give off a sense of toughness and lasting power that the area is known for. The sprawling complex is large enough to even house a shrine!
Another credit to poor luck, self-guided tours through the inside of the castle had just closed when I arrived, similar to my fortune trying to visit Tōdai-ji in Nara. Even then, I couldn’t help but just sit back and marvel at the structure’s intricate details and massive size. Perhaps another time I can come early enough to take a look inside. With the sun quickly heading to the horizon, I set out for dinner and called it a night for any more photographs. There was still much more to capture in the following days!
That’s all for this post, guys and gals! Thanks for dropping by! With any luck, and a bit more free time, I can have another post from this photograph-filled vacation put up by this weekend. Even then, I still haven’t even been able to touch my bits of photographs from Singapore, India, and Sendai! I have a feeling July is going to be my catch-up month…As always, have a great day!