Otaru Ushio Festival

Last weekend Otaru City celebrated it’s 47th Otaru Ushio Festival. The 3 day festival was packed with all sorts of entertainment and cultural exchanges and centered around the main downtown port area near the historic canal.

Otaru Ushio Festival, Two women dressed up in beautiful summer Yukata's, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival, Two women dressed up in beautiful summer Yukata’s, 28 July 2013

Lots of people were dressed in traditional summer outfits making the most of the amazing food stalls and beer gardens.

Otaru Ushio Festival Dancers, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival Dancers, 28 July 2013

As as yesterday was the last day of the festival the Mikoshi portable shrine parade was one of the main events. Mikoshi’s are a feature at nearly all summer festivals and are part of Shinto religious custom.

Otaru Ushio Festival Mikoshi Man, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival Mikoshi Man, 28 July 2013

Different local area’s have their own Mikoshi which they parade their god throughout the town or city for good luck.

Otaru Ushio Festival Mikoshi Girl, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival Mikoshi Girl, 28 July 2013

The group below had their own special move – spinning around as low and as fast as they could go on the spot and then lifting the mikoshi up and down as fast as they could. This move delighted onlookers.

Otaru Ushio Festival, spinning the portable shrine, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival, spinning the portable shrine, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival - the final stage, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival – the final stage, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival, 28 July 2013

Otaru City is only a 1 hour drive from Niseko and a great sightseeing destination at any time of the year. Getting there by train is also very easy from Kutchan Train Station with regular services to and from Otaru and also takes around an hour. In winter the Otaru Snow Light Festival is well worth making the trip for.

Unfortunately we were unable to stay for the closing fireworks display…maybe next year!

Otaru Ushio Festival - main stage, 28 July 2013

Otaru Ushio Festival – main stage, 28 July 2013

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