THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Ryusei Uchiyama, a master "nebuta" craftsman from Aomori, works on a float at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. (Photo by Keisuke Tanaka/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Several nebuta floats from Aomori Prefecture have traveled to Tokyo to help celebrate a venerable shrine's 90th anniversary of its founding.
Float crafters from the northern Honshu prefecture are busy reassembling four of the colorful paper-and-wood floats at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, which was formally dedicated in 1920. Each float will be lit from the inside.
The four were featured in this summer's Aomori Nebuta Festival, Hirosaki Neputa Festival, Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa Festival and Hachinohe Sansha Taisai grand festival.
They will be on display in the Shibuya Ward shrine's precincts from Saturday to Monday, Nov. 1, the founding day of the shrine.
The float from the Aomori festival will be paraded about 1 kilometer from the shrine down Omotesando street to Aoyama-dori starting at 5:45 p.m. Monday. The procession will include the region's festive haneto dancers backed by hayashi musicians in a small-scale re-enactment of the vibrant and spectacular evening festival that draws raucous crowds each summer in Aomori.
The Aomori float, which stretches 9 meters wide, 7 meters long and 4.8 meters tall, was dismantled and brought to Tokyo by truck. It is being rebuilt by six nebuta float craftsmen from Aomori, including Ryusei Uchiyama, 48.
The Aomori and Hirosaki floats will be displayed in front of the shrine's torii gate, while the Hachinohe Sansha and Goshogawara floats will be in the Dai-ichi parking lot.
The idea of participating in the Meiji Shrine's anniversary event was proposed by Aomori Prefecture officials ahead of December's extension of the Tohoku Shinkansen line to Aomori.
The Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.