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Matsuri (祭り)is the Japanese word for festival, and here in Miyajima (a small island near Okinawa) there are a lot of them. Miyako matsuri is a matsuri held for the celebration of summer and to officially acknowledge the new “Miss Miyako”.  There is also a carrying of an omikoshi (a portable shrine carried on the shoulder of a group of participants) as well as a tsunahiki (tug-o-war). I participated in the tsunahiki and my hands are still sore. We unfortunately lost 1-2. Once the event is over everyone scrambles to cut up the rope and take some home. The rope is considered good luck, regardless of whether you won or lost. If you are in Japan and have a chance to take part in a festival, go for it. They are a lot of fun. Here are some of the pictures from the event.

Hula girls in Miyakojima

Hula girls in Miyakojima

carrying the shrine

Carrying the shrine

Miss Miyako

Miss Miyako

Japanese tug of war

Japanese tug o war

more tug of war shots

Anoher tsunahiki shot

And lastly, here is a video from one of the pulls

Japanese Words List

  • Festival-まつり
  • Portable Shrine-おみこし
  • Tug-o-war-つなひき