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A Colorful Festival in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kyoto


Some might argue we saved the best for last. Our final destination in Japan was Kyoto. But I had an itching. I just couldn't leave this country before properly enjoy a bamboo forest. I knew beforehand about the one from Arashiyama, on the outskirts of Kyoto, and one of our last uses of the JR Pass was traveling there. 

Now I don't want to brag too much about it, but our trip to Japan was one fortunate event after another. It was the day before Jidai Matsuri Festival and from what we could tell, celebrations were already being held at shrines all over Kyoto. 

Just as we entered the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, we stumbled upon this intriguing festival. We especially liked the little girls dressed in kimonos. Their wigs both made them look extremely cute and reminded us of certain Japanese horror movies at the same time. I guess we let pop culture define us a bit too much, don't you think?... *sigh*



So the bamboo forest kind of passed on the second place. And though after taking a zillion photos of the festivities we strolled under the tall bamboo trees holding hands for a while, it didn't last long, as we felt an irresistible urge to go back and see more of the festival. 

I won't pretend we understood much of what was going on. There was something that seemed like a coronation of the queen of the festival followed by a procession, but we couldn't find any information online about it. So if anyone can shed some light, please do so in a comment. We took however an incredible number of photos, which totally made our work of selecting just a few for the purpose of this post very difficult.

So... Which one is your favorite photo?













Our time in Japan was courtesy of Japan Rail Pass

32 comments:

  1. Arashiyama in Kyoto is such a beautiful place, especially in spring and autumn!
    I'm surprised you got so many close-up photos of people.
    During festivals it's usually very crowded and hard to take good close-up photos.

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    1. I would rather say crowd makes it hard for good wide-angle shots. Close-ups depend only on your lenses and positioning.

      Regardless of difficulty, photos are stunning.

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    2. Thank you both! Actually we got there just before the procession started... But I didn't find the festivals in Japan very crowded, not if I compare them with certain European festivals I attended over the years...

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  2. So many great photos. Arashiyama in Kyoto is one of my favourite places to visit in Kyoto and a place we visit often as our family temple is located there.

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    1. Lucky you! :) We loved Arashiyama, but unfortunately we didn't have all the time we needed to explore it all. If we ever get back to Kyoto, we'll surely dedicate it more time.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Andi! It means a lot coming from you :)

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  4. It seems it was this festival: http://www.nonomiya.com/moyou.html

    Similar to Aoi Matsuri in May (http://www.matsuritimes.com/kyoto-aoi-matsuri/) it features a re-enactment of Imperial Princess procession from Kyoto to Ise-Jingu (the most important Japanese shrine in Mie Prefecture) for service.

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    1. Thank you, Matsuri Times! Good to know! Everything makes more sense now :)

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  5. Wow! Great write-up and the photos .. incredible!!! You got really good timing to run into that festival as well.

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    1. I know, right? We were so lucky, we couldn't believe it ourselves. But then again, this kind of situations make for the best memories ;)

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  6. Simply Stunning and no worries on the pop culture reference... they have to come from somewhere so if you ever wondered about those films, perhaps this was the influence. :-)

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    1. You are probably right. What looks like an unusual sight on the silver screen for us, it is sometimes just the normal day to day life in some other part of the world...

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  7. So beautiful! Impressive and stunning pictures. I understand why the visit to the bamboo forest didn't last long:)

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    1. Thank you, Vera! You know, the bamboo forest was supposed to be this quiet and relaxing place, but because the festival was going on just around the corner, the bamboo forest was quite busy that day. So maybe next time we visit we'll dedicate the whole experience to the bamboo forest and enjoy it for what it is supposed to represent. But it looks like this time it was the festival's turn to captivate our imagination and attention. Not that I complain...

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  8. Lovely collection of beautiful images!! How fortunate that you were able to experience this.

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    1. I know, it was an incredible experience!

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  9. Stunning photos!! I love them all- especially the close-ups and vivid colors!!!

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    1. Thank you, Casey! They are between our favorite photos we took in Japan.

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    1. Thank you, Lili! It means the world coming from you!

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  11. Your photos of those girls are fantastic!

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  12. So many incredible shots! I especially love the portraits :)

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    1. Thank you, Sam! I'm actually thinking about framing some of them and hang them on the walls in my apartment ;)

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  13. Love the photos of the girls in their colorful costumes and makeup.

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  14. Beautiful pictures! I love the Japanese culture and I'm still planning to visit Japan. This keeps me convinced to visit this country, Thanks!

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  15. Stunning photos! I love the details in them all. You've really brought the experience to life!

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  16. All of these photos were amazing. I've seen lots and lots of bamboo since moving to Asia, but there was something positively magical about your shots. Those weren't my favorite photo, though.

    The one that really caught my eye was the first "queen." The colors were definitely spectacular and she was stunning, but I could really see the details of the makeup. I could see two women in that shot... The makeup and the woman under the makeup. Truly fantastic.

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  17. What a colorful festival? The girls are so cute and the bamboos are awesome. They look beautiful with their kimonos on. This is a fun way to enjoy festival. Great post!

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  18. Absolutely beautiful pictures. Thank you for the ideas. Can you please tell me what camera you used and what time of year you where there. Thanks, Krist

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  19. Absolutely beautiful pictures. Thank you for the info. Can you please tell me what camera you used and what time of year you where there. Thanks, Krist

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