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The Shimada Obi Festival held every three years is one of 3 curious festivals in Japan.
"obi matsuri" (Obi means a broad sash, and matsuri is a festival). In the festival people wear a gold ornament apron (you can see this in sumo tournaments), unusual waraji, or straw sandals, two 2-meter long-swords with obi of brocade on each, and a chinese umbrella walk on the street.
The festival originally comes from a traditional wedding ceremony in Shimada. In very old days, brides in fine kimono used to visit Oi shrine first and then inns district.
However, people in Shimada thought that brides from different places felt embarassed to show themselves in front of so many people.
Therefore, ohyakko, guards of a portable shrine started to show only brides' obi during the shrine's festival.
Later, the festival became very big and, there was a very long procession (currently 3km long!) consisting of ohyakko, daimyo procession, portable shrine, dancers of kashima, and procession of famous singers from Edo.
HOW TO GET THERE
From the JR shimada station, walk 5 minutes to the OI SHRINE
Written May 13, 2005
Riverty, full marathon race course along the Oigawa river is a popular place for jogging, biking, and walking for Shimada residents. There is a distance sign in every 500 meters.
Written Aug 13, 2011