category: destinations, southern-izu, travel-reports
Go back to the Edo period in Black Ship Festival!
Black Ship Festival (Kuro-fune Matsuri in Japanese), is a commemoration of when Commodore Perry came to Japan. It is an important historical event because after 200 years of isolation, Matthew C. Perry came with his Black Ship (this festival name) to open up Japan from their period of sakoku (literally mean : locked country).
Let’s move to the matsuri article, shall we?
What makes this festival very interesting is that you can enjoy it while wearing a kimono. Also, it was my first time wearing kimono and not yukata. Henshin Corner (Transformation Corner) are there so you can rent a kimono! They are open from 9 a.m. and you can wear the kimono until 5 p.m. There are many kimono with various colors and also obi (kimono’s belt) to match your kimono. They will help you get dressed too, so you basically just stand there while the staff put the kimono on you. After its done they will also lend you geta (wooden sandal) and you’re good to go! (^o^)
When I went to the festival it was raining slightly so I chose to see indoor performances. I headed to Ryosenji Temple to see a sequence of performances over there. The first thing I noticed when I went to Ryosenji temple was that it smelled so good! There are many Nioiban-matsuri flowers (Yesterday Today and Tomorrow flowers, Brunfelsia latifolia) over there and I am so glad to have been able to enjoy all the performance with fresh flower fragrance.
One of the performances was a play about the Japan – US Treaty of Peace and Amity. It is not purely a “history lesson” though. They mix some humor in the dialogue so it’s not too formal. The most interesting part was when both parties couldn’t really understand each other because of the language difference. Here are some photos, I was lucky enough to take a picture with the guy who played Commodore Perry!
Next was some traditional performances. The first picture is a traditional dance and traditional Japanese drum performance. The drum performance is actually from Okinawa, and as the MC stated : “Brings the warm wind of summer” That is because Okinawa is the southern part of Japan and it is hotter than the rest of Japan. It was a very powerful drum performance. There were also music performances. One person played keyboard, another person played flute, and sometimes another person in green kimono would join to sing. I really liked it!! ♫
Last as the Kimono Fashion Show and Geisha dance performance. I liked the fashion show because himono with various, interesting accessories were show by, not only women, but men also. I am also glad to have been able to see Geisha! Their hair ornaments, their kimono, their movements, everything was just beautiful. Here are some photos of it, enjoy!
There were some spots of live street performances every 30 to 60 in each spot. I was so amazed by how skilled all the performers were. It was too bad I couldn’t see them all because they do the performance in each spot simultaneously. Some of the live street performances I saw included belly dance, balloon show, freestyle football, a hip hop dance team, a monkey show, and more.
Personally I loved the freestyle football so much! I tried to take a picture but they moved so fast, so if the photo is blurry please forgive me… The balloon maker was also really entertaining. She was so lively and energetic while shaping the balloons and giving them to the kids, I think her show was the cutest. You can also see that her balloon outfit was very unique!
I also met some of the yuru-chara when walking around the festival area. They are so cute and children always either want to shake hands with them, just punch them, or take off their gloves to prove there is a human inside. It was very funny!
Besides the performance there were also a lot of food shops and shooting stands where you can win various items! I also found a cheap kimono shop that sells discounted haori (traditional Japanese coat) so I bought some too.
I only went for the second day but I was able to see so many awesome things. I didn’t even get to see the fireworks on the first day or the samurai cosplay contest on the last day! But you know, they will likely hold the same event next year, so you better book your accomodations over there to enjoy the best of the festival. And of course, make sure to enjoy it while wearing a kimono to make it even more awesome! You can click here to see the event schedule this year and this for more complete version of it (in Japanese though) so you can plan what you want to see at the festival.
Thank you for reading this article. Hope to see you next year at the Black Ship Festival!
|Event name||(The 76th) Black Ship Festival|
|Place||Shimoda City, Shizuoka|
|Address||Shimoda City, Shizuoka|
|Event Period||On May 15(Fri.), 16(Sat.) and 17(Sun.) 2015.|
|Contact||Shimoda Tourist Association [Telephone: 0558-22-1531]|
|Getting there||By train|
From Tokyo Station take a “Ltd. Exp Odoriko” or “Super View Odoriko” of Jr Line, get off at the terminal station Izukyu Shimoda Station, duration is about 3 hours.By car
From Tokyo Station to Toumei-Atsuigi -> Odawara -> Route 135 -> Kawazu -> Shimoda. > > > >
3 hour driving from Tomei-Atsuigi Interchange will bring you joy of viewing the beautiful scenery along East Coast of Izu.
* Traffic jams are expected around Shimoda Station during the period of Kurofune Festival.
※ Please make sure the info you see is the latest in advance.