Day five – Ohtsuchi Festival (an unexpected surprise)

Sun. 25th Sep. I made my way over to Ohtsuchi early on Sunday morning. This was the day I both looked forward to and dreaded the most. However, I was taken by surprise when I first arrived as the Autumn Festival was in full swing within the grounds of Ohtsuchi Jinja. That the shrine was standing at all was being hailed as a miracle – trapped between tsunami and forest fires, it alone remains standing while everything around it was destroyed. With the haunting melodies of flutes and the rhythm of drums in the background, it was a powerful and moving view to look beyond the festival-goers and the shrine’s Tori gate to the desolate landscape running away to the sea. However, everyone carried a smile and I felt a collective spirit of hope.

Ohtsuchi Shrine and Festival in full swing beyond the ruins
Approach to Ohtsuchi Shrine
Drummers


View back through Tori gate towards the desolation of Ohtsuchi
Young dancers
Very young Tiger Dancers
Dancers strike a pose with fans
More Dancers
More Dancers 2
Scoop the fish
‘Don’ Yatai
Omikoshi appears
Omikosho descends
Omikoshi and Tiger Dancers
Omikoshi exits shrine
Persued by Tiger Dancers
Omikoshi ‘frenzy’
Omikoshi ‘frenzy’ 2
Ohtsuchi HS students as Tiger Dancers
Ruins of Ohtsuchi beyond Omikoshi
Tiger Dancer and Tori
Matsuri no Ato
Calling the Kami of Ohtsuchi
Children of Ohtsuchi
Ususawa Butsudan CEO wearing “Rebuild Ohtsuchi” T-shirt
On the way home
Lion Dance in front of Ohtsuchi Station
Lion Dance in front of Ohtsuchi Station 2
Lone Drummer plays to Ohtsuchi ruins as evening falls
Lion Dance watchers with Ohtsuchi Elementary School in background
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