Golden Week Adventures 2017 - Hamamatsu Kite Festival
This is the last of my Golden Week Adventure posts. I took about a million photos that day, so it has taken me awhile to go through them. My friends and I got on the train at different stations, but met up in the last train car to go to Hamamatsu for the festival. The three day festival attracts approximately two million people over three days. The festival originated over 440 years ago when the then Lord of Hijuma Castle, who ruled Hamamtsu and the surrounding area, raised a kite in celebration of the birth of his first son. In this region of Japan, there is still the tradition of raising a kite with the name of one's child to celebrate the birth.
From the Hamamatsu train station, we took a bus to the area near the Nakatajima Sand Dunes where the kites were flown. It was very crowded and the kites were quite large. It was exciting to see all that was happening. In addition to the kites to celebrate the birth of children, there are many kites representing different neighborhood groups. These group kites battle each other in the sky, entangling the 5 mm thick hemp kite lines in an attempt to cut through the other kite's lines using friction. Each group has matching jackets and a bugle and drum band to give signals and cause excitement.
After eating lunch and watching the kites, we headed back to the festival area near the train station. There were so many things going on!
There were many of these gotenyatai (palace-like floats), which were in the night parade. Volunteers encouraged us to take our photo wearing the traditional jackets.
It was a fun day and I hope to attend this festival again next year!