Uchiko’s Sasa Matsuri

13887015_10154483439167042_1794710640330441290_nOn the 6th-8th of August, Sasa Matsuri takes place in the quaint and historical town of Uchiko, Ehime. The festival is a small one, but without a doubt the most charming I have been to thus far. The buildings of Uchiko are traditional and picturesque, the sense of history they hold gives the town a distinctly peaceful atmosphere. After walking through the residential streets to the main road, we reach the festival proper. The occasional stall lines the road; offering delicious street food and games for the young ‘uns. It’s wonderful to see the adorable little ones dressed up in yukata and jinbei gazing in wonder at their transformed town. The community create riotously colourful decorations to bedeck the streets, called sasa gazari. Preparation for this takes months; each sasa gazari has a base made of bamboo shaped into a large ball which is then covered with materials which act as a framework for hangings made of hundreds of intricately arranged papers, plastics and even recycled goods. The level of craftsmanship is utterly astounding, with sasa gazari depicting everything from cartoon characters to kabuki masks. The patience and preparation that goes into this festival is quite apparent. Despite this, there is a magical air about these creations, as though when one passes through this kaleidoscopic curtain you may be transported to another world entirely. Hopefully my photographs will do more justice to one of the most wondrous spectacles I have had the privilege to behold.

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