Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Samurai Battle Festival – Battle of Sekigahara Festival

In the small town of Sekigahara a festival is put on to commemorate one of the most decisive battles in Japanese history – the Battle of Sekigahara. In 1600, two massive armies converge on Sekigahara and fought a great battle. The winner, Tokugawa Ieyasu went on to become shogun and started a new era known as the Edo Period named after his capital which is today Tokyo.

The main star at the festival is not either of the two opposing leaders suprisingly but Otani Yoshitsugu, a warlord suffering from leprosy who fought for the Western Army against Tokugawa. He’s the tragic hero of the tale of Sekigahara. It’s his forces which get attacked from the rear by a turncoat by the name Kobayakawa Hideaki.

Overall it’s a small re-enactment for such a pivotal piece of history but they do a good job with the drama.

For more info and photos 

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April 2, 2013 Posted by | travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ninja vs Samurai at a Japanese Festival (Nagoya Matsuri)

The age-old question of “Ninja vs Samurai – who would win?” was tackled recently at Nagoya Matsuri in a fight between a blue-clad ninja (a Smurf ninja?) and an armor-wearing samurai. The results may surprise you; however with Ninja, things are not always as they seem…

November 3, 2011 Posted by | japan, japanese culture, Japanese festival, martial arts, matsuri, Nagoya, ninja, Only in Japan, samurai, video | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Firewalking Festival – Akibasan Gongen Hibuse Matsuri

Buddhist Priest prepares to walk over hot coals

This video is from a year or two ago when I caught the tailend of a fire festival out near Odawara an hour or so to the southwest of Tokyo. Buddhist Priests dressed as Yamabushi – mountain hermits – walked over hot coals. Later, participants were allowed to do the same so I kicked off my shoes, waited in the freezing dirt till I got my chance to walk over by-then-not-so-hot coals.

The festival is called Akibasan Gongen Hibuse Matsuri and it’s held in mid-December at Ryokaku-in Temple.

TORCH DANCING

This footage was taken slightly in slo-mo (hence the out-of-focus look) of a torch dance at the fire festival. It’s accompanied by a rather catchy Buddhist chant.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | fire, fire festival, Fire Walking, japan, japanese culture, Japanese festival, matsuri, travel, video, vlog | , , , , | Leave a comment

2010 Kuroishi Neputa Matsuri

2010 Kuroishi Neputa Matsuri

Kuroishi Neputa Matsuri is a Japanese festival in the small town of Kuroishi in the Aomori prefecture in the northern Japanese region called Tohoku. For the festival, the people of Kuroishi make floats of washi – japanese paper – and paint them with scenes from Japanese and Chinese history and legends. The floats are illuminated from within so it makes for some beautiful artwork.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | culture, festival, japan, japanese culture, Japanese festival, matsuri, neputa, Only in Japan, tohoku, travel, video, vlog | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment