Throughout Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, the Central Kurashiki City area was abuzz with life for the opening of the Byobu (Japanese Folding Screen) Festival, particularly in the Bikan historical neighbourhood. Some time ago, the Achi
Shrine Festival had also been named the Byobu Festival. Many spectators came to watch and enjoy the unveiling of the Japanese Folding Screen from the entrance of the houses between the Honmachi and Higashimchi Street in the Bikan neighborhood.
Another lady again dressed in a beautiful Kimono was playing the Shamisen** The lovely sounds of the instrument together with her soft singing voice touched everyone’s heart.
‘Shinnokougyouretsu’ the traditional Procession of the Shrine God, who is the central figure of the Festival.
All visitors were invited to the Tea Ceremony at the Shinke-en Garden. The tea being served by a lady in an authentic Japanese Kimono portrayed true Japanese hospitality.
Ladies wearing traditional Kimonos walking along the cozy narrow pathways between the Old Townhouses conveyed a special charm of its own.
The three Goddesses were elegantly carried in a boat through the Ima and the Naka bridges, accompanied by the lovely performance of bamboo flutes playing the Gagaku, with many people gathered along the riverside watching them.
‘Omotenashi’ Hospitality Flowers were on display all along the Hon Street in the Bikan Area, welcoming the visitors to Kurashiki, as a sign of love symbolized by the Japanese floral art (Ikebana)*
‘Byobumatsuri’, Japanese Folding Screen Festival was being experienced with authenticity along with the traditional hospitality of the local people as symbolized by their many colourful floral art arrangements, and the entertainment with ancient Japanese music. All spectators watching this beautiful display and traditional cultural event within the landscape of the lovely local surroundings were enjoying a splendid time. We look forward to welcoming you all to visit Kurashiki next year.
* ‘Byobumatsuri’ Japanese Folding Screen Festival
* ‘Shamisen’ is a banjo-like instrument used to accompany Bunraku and Kabuki.
* ‘Su-Inkyo’ are youths who put on masks to represent the Grandfather and Grandmother who go together with a lion and lioness in a line at the festival here in Kurashiki. When you are tapped by Su-Inkyo with her tan-colour round fan, tradition has it that you become healthier, cleverer and stronger. http://suinkyo.okoshi-yasu.com/
* ‘Ikebana’ Japanese floral art was brought to its peak of refinement in the latter half of the 16th Century by its founder, Sen-no-Rikyu. At present, there are about three thousand schools of Ikebana. Tow of the better known ones being the Ikenobo School and the Chara School.
‘Enjoy Kurashiki’ book published in March 20th 2007 by Kurashiki Visitors’ and Convention Bureau, Yokoso Japan.