One of the highlights of the festival is the street parade that takes place during the day.
Smaller floats are pulled through the streets and up to the temple:
They are accompanied by a variety of different traditional musicians and musical instruments:
The parade features participants of all ages – from about 80:
To about 8:
And all ages in between:
Sometimes you need a quick break:
And of course it all ends with the Dragon Dance:
Takayama is known as ‘Little Kyoto’ and there are still many old buildings that are wonderfully preserved and give a glimpse of how beautiful it must have been before concrete, if somewhat partial to fire and the odd earthquake.
Some old merchant’s houses:
Traditional washi paper shop:
One of the highlights of the festival is the puppet show held at Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine. Each puppet requires “9 puppet masters to manipulate the 36 strings which make the marionettes move in a lifelike manner, with gestures, turns and other movements” (Wikipedia).
The show takes place in front of the main shrine and the puppets are operated from within the float:
The movements are incredibly graceful and lifelike:
The float being wheeled away for the evening:
Musicians on the float:
Autumn leaves at the shrine:
Here is some detail of the floats. Most of the floats were made in the 18th – 19th Centuries by local Takayama craftsmen. The skills of Takayama carvers were well-regarded throughout Japan and they were often employed in the capital.