A Travellerspoint blog

First day, first festival

sunny 96 °F

We zipped into Tokyo and stashed out luggage (it seems every JR train station has luggage lockers which is extremely handy) then headed out. Our first destination was the Imperial Palace but it was not open to the public that day, so we browsed around outside - you can even sightsee at walls!


We then decided to visit a nearby museum,the Mori Center Art Gallery. At this point i will interject that this is my first time in Tokyo in summer and it is hot hot hot! It was a steamy 95 degree walk. Fortunately, Japan is loaded with cold drink machines dispensing a bewildering variety of beverages that are most welcome in this weather.

There was another event at the entrance to the museum with some entertaining figures.


Oddly, cats also played a prominent role in the intriguing exhibit at the Mori. the museum on the 52nd floor of a skyscraper so along with art you can enjoy panoramic views of Tokyo which only begin to reveal the sheer size of this city!


About the other cats. The show we saw was titled "Louvre No. 9 — Manga, the 9th Art." It represents a multi-year collaboration between French bande dessinee and Japanese Manga artists to place their work in the context of the Louvre as it might have been/might be. There was some English captioning, some French and most Japanese, so we largely enjoyed just looking at the various interpretations. They ranged from surrealistic to amusing and on to frankly confusing, especially as only selected panels from each artist's work were presented. Photography was not allowed, but there were some reproductions that could be photographed one of which, fortunately, was one of my favorites - 'Cats of the Louvre'


We revived ourselves with a snack at the cafe and headed out through the inevitable gift shop (which actually had some pretty interesting items, but it was too early to start adding luggage mass). Our next stop was a region of Tokyo called Kagurazaka for our first festival that evening.

This was kind of a neighborhood event, in that there weren't hundreds of thousands of foks attending, and we sat on the curb of a small street and watched the festival pass. There were about 20 groups performing; we were kind of surprised to find that each group had largely the same numbr and type of participants, and each group performed the same song. There were also call and responses but when we did research later, we found that they were singing nonsense - the parade is kind of a 'Crazy Days' event. There were variations, of course, but was kind of like imagining ]the Rose Parade where every band played Stars and Stripes Forever in their own unique style. Nonetheless, the obvous enjoyment among the spectators and participants was infectious. Notably, every group had a contingent of little kids who really lit up the experience. Here are a bunch of pictures -


We dragged ourselves back to our apartment and agreed that the one thing Japanese festivals are is a fantastic photo op!

Posted by tdeits 05:38 Archived in Japan

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