Culture

An evening at Kobe Harbour

Mani & I took the train to Kobe to check out the stunning illuminated harbor but we were sucked into the Bon Odori festivities happening on the same day. Food and beer stalls were everywhere. Surrounded by a sea of Kimono clad couples, on a small wooden stage, a group of lovely ladies were dancing to traditional music. It was great fun watching this 500-year-old tradition that is celebrated yearly to honor the spirits of their ancestors.

The cute dolls of Tougyoku Doll Museum

We landed in Iwatsuki today to see the amazing Togyoku dolls. The collection at Tougyoku Dolls Museum is diverse and the exhibits include imperial court dolls and hina dolls among others. The town of Iwatsuki is famous for its cute dolls and is said to have over 300 doll-makers. They’ve been making dolls here since the 1700s when it was discovered that the Paulownia trees here are excellent for woodcarving. Soon the town became a center for the production of hina dolls, and the tradition continues to this day.

Warrior dolls of Aomori Nebuta Museum

The Nebuta summer festival is a spectacular event held in Aomori Prefecture of Japan, where massive paper lantern floats based on kabuki or mythical stories, flanked by large taiko drums, musicians and dancers parade through the city. For those like me who missed the festival, the floats are kept back at the Museum to enjoy throughout the year.

Ruins of Sannai-Maruyama

We step back in time to the Jomon period at the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins. The ruins in the southwest of Aomori is the largest ruins of a Jomon-period village in Japan. Most of the excavated items have been reburied for preservation, but a few excavation sites and artifacts are on display along with reconstructed dwellings, giving us a sense of the daily life of ancient times.

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