SAKAI, Fukui -- Six large floats topped with a 6-meter-tall Japanese warrior figure and other giant dolls paraded through this Sea of Japan coastal city during the Mikuni Festival, one of the Hokuriku region's "three great festivals," on May 20.
All the floats, five each representing a local district and one an association, gathered at the Mikuni Shrine in the Fukui Prefecture city of Sakai at around 1 p.m. Participants rotated the floats by district in a performance called "Torimawashi." They carried the floats through an alley described "as narrow as a kimono sash" by locals, in a major attraction called "Yama-junko." Onlookers cheered and clapped as the floats barely avoided crashing into houses and utility poles.
Although local residents feared that the floats may be blown down by the strong winds, participants proceeded while calling out to each other to "go slowly."
"There aren't that many participants because it's a Monday, but we're performing with the kind of energy that can blast away the bad weather," commented Ryuji Hori, 57, the head of a group of middle-aged men from the Kiho district, one of the five with a float in the festival.
Kwan Shuk Yee, 57, who came to see the parade from Hong Kong, told the Mainichi Shimbun, "I enjoyed seeing the colorful floats. I hope this tradition is passed down to the next generation and preserved. I want to come and see it again."
(Japanese original by Chika Yokomi, Fukui Bureau)