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Yasukuni Jinja Mitama MatsuriYasukuni Jinja (靖国神社) is a one of the most prominent Shinto Shrine in Tokyo, adjoining the former Edo Castle in the north. It was a shrine presided over by the Imperial Army and Navy until the end of WWII and still preserves a shrine complex which survived the war up until now. For details about this shrine, see the article on Yasukuni Shrine.The Mitama Matsuri (みたままつり), held at the shrine from July 13 through 16 every year, is one of the most notable festivals held in Tokyo in early summer.

Mitama Matsuri

The Mitama Matsuri, literally meaning "the Soul Festival", was founded in 1947 based on a Japanese traditional ancestral ceremony conducted in mid-summer, which is now integrated into Buddhism and practiced as the Bon (盆) or the Obon (お盆) in early August.
After 6pm, more than 30,000 lanterns are lit and 3 million visitors visit the shrine. Many events are held, mainly in the evening, during the period.

Front approach
Mitama Matsuri

The front approach is lit with ten thousand lanterns.

Bon-odori
Mitama Matsuri

Bon-odori is a kind of traditional dance performed at local communities around the nation in summer. They are held in hundreds in Tokyo alone. Nenbutsu-odori which emerged a millennium ago developed into bon-odori several hundred years after that. At first it used to be performed to greet the ancestral spirits who come back to the mortal world for a short time in summer, though nowadays most people don't know its origin any more.
Bon-odori is performed around the statue of Omura Masujiro during the festival.

Mitama Matsuri
Shinmon gate
Mitama Matsuri

The Shinmon gate is decorated with tanabata ornaments.

Inside Shinmon gate
Mitama Matsuri
Lanterns around Haiden
Mitama Matsuri

About twenty thousand smaller lanterns are lit inside the Shinmon gate. At 6pm every night, a memorial service for war-dead soldiers are held behind the Haiden.

Ikebana flowers
Mitama Matsuri
Some festival lanterns from around Japan
Mitama Matsuri

Performances at the front approach

Various performances are performed at the front approach and the Nohgakudo stage during the festival.

Mikoshi procession
Mitama Matsuri
Kappore dance
Mitama Matsuri
Awa-odori dance
Mitama Matsuri
Nebuta float
Mitama Matsuri

Performances at the Nohgakudo stage

Gagaku
Mitama Matsuri
popular music
Mitama Matsuri
Yasukuni Jinja Shrine Official English website
3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo MAP
Area guide around this siteYasukuni Shrine