天神祭り Tenjin Festival
On Wednesday July 25th the Tenjin Festival took place in Osaka City. The summer festival is one of the biggest in Japan and there were roughly 500,000 people there for the festival. The festival takes place along the river near Sakuranomiya. There are all the usual food stalls and game booths and an hour long aerial fireworks display like many other festivals have. The thing that is unique to this festival is the parade of boats along the river. It is much like a normal parade with decorated floats, music and celebrities but this one is all on boats floating up and down the river.
The other thing that is really cool about this festival is that lots of people wear a yukata, which is a light cotton version of the traditional kimono worn in summer time. Probably about half of the women were wearing yukata and a decent amount of men as well. The yukata have really beautiful designs and colors and makes the whole festival feel much more traditional. For this festival I even decided to wear a yukata!
I felt a little odd being a foreigner wearing traditional Japanese clothes but it was really fun and I overheard lots of people commenting that I looked cool. The yukata is like a bath robe so its really comfortable and there are pockets in the underhand of the sleaves which are convenient for carrying things. The only problem was that I have really big feet (31cm) and the biggest geta slippers that I could find were only 28cm so my feet were hanging off the back. After walking around all night my feet were really sore by the end of the night.
I ate lots of good food and had a really good time walking around the festival in my yukata getting looks from everyone. Even though the Tenjin Festival is not all that much different from other festivals in Japan the huge number of people and the warm weather created a wonderful atmosphere and was a lot of fun.
(From this point on I am going to start writing this blog in both English and Japanese.)