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throngs of people who flock to Osaka's Imamiya Ebisu Shrine to pray for
prosperity and luck in business during this boisterous, colorful three day
the God of Wealth and one of the 'Seven Gods of Good Fortune' ('shichi-fukujin').
He is the patron saint of those in business and commerce and is usually
portrayed carrying a fishing rod and a large fish - a symbol of abundance. Those
in business never fail to make an annual visit to the Ebisu Shrine during this
festival to purchase a lucky 'fukusasa' (good fortune bamboo branch) from
Shrine Maidens who call out the promise "Buy branches and your business will
Ebisu' means the Tenth Day Ebisu, and indeed the highlight, a colorful parade of
palanquins bearing geisha and famous celebrities, takes place on the 10th. Other
attractions include geisha dances, traditional performing arts and rice cake
making. The festivities each day last well into the evening, when the streets
are illuminated with colored lanterns and lights.
a million people pass through the shrine during these three days
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Setsubun (Bean Throwing Festival)
the ritual driving out of demons, bad luck and evil spirits in preparation for
the lunar New Year is achieved with boisterous mame-maki (bean throwing
ceremonies), performances by colorfully dressed oni (goblins and demons)
and high-profile celebrity appearances at shrines and temples across the
soy beans are the weapon of choice against the oni, which appear on this
day in homes, schools, kindergartens and in temple and shrine precincts. As
colorful "devils" wearing grotesque masks rush threateningly around, lively
crowds pelt them with beans while shouting "Fuku-wa-uchi, Oni-wa-soto!"
("Good luck in, devils out!"), finally vanquishing them and chasing them away.
The beans are said to symbolize the sowing of seeds and the impregnation of the
Earth with new life.
The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition
Fine Arts Exhibition at the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art is the largest and
most comprehensive of its kind. On display are carefully selected pieces of art,
sculpture and calligraphy from the finest of Japan's established modern artists,
as well as talented newcomers.
history going back almost a century, the Nitten has certainly built a reputation
for itself. Its Japanese-Style Painting category features modern interpretations
of traditional styles, whereas Western-Style Painting uses foreign techniques to
produce a modern representation of Japan's natural features. Sculpture, Craft as
Art and Calligraphy add variety to this already diverse blend..
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greatest Sumo wrestlers in Japan, and therefore the world, meet at the Osaka
Municipal Gymnasium for the March Basho, one of the year's six Grand
one of Japan's most popular sports, steeped in legend, history and ceremony. To
the outsider it can seem like a mere battle of strength and power, but it should
be remembered that this is a sport with over 70 different throws, trips, forms
and tricks. Only when these are mastered will the wrestler stand a chance of
becoming a Yokuzuna (grand champion).
seats in the house are those situated closest to the dohyo (the ring). Make
sure that you order tickets early though, as they can sell out quickly.
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Bureau - Cherry blossom viewing
has a greater place in the hearts of the Japanese than the cherry blossom - the
national flower of Japan
Ministry of Finance's Osaka Mint Bureau is situated on the Yodo Riverside
promenade can be walked along freely at any time, but in a tradition dating back
to the late 19th century, the Mint Gardens open to the public for just one week
a year during the peak blossom period. As an added bonus, the cherry trees are
illuminated in the evenings. The Mint Bureau blossoms are so famous that the
people of Osaka even have a special phrase, "zoheikyoku sakura no torinuke",
which means "viewing the cherry blossoms while strolling through the Mint Bureau
Bureau gardens boast 400 cherry trees, including examples of almost 100
different varieties, some very rare. Particular attention is paid to a variety
that produces light green flowers, and another where the petals are pale yellow.
Tanabata Star Festival
a star and roam streets festooned with colorful decorations during the lively
traditional Tanabata Star Festival, inspired by a romantic legend and held
which is thought to date back to the 8th century, is based on an old Chinese
legend of two lovers. Separated by the milky way, the cowherd Kengyu (the star
Altair) and the weaver Orihime (the star Vega) are permitted to meet only on one
night of the year, the seventh day of the seventh month.
are decorated with lanterns and colorful streamers, and bamboo poles festooned
with paper strips inscribed with wishes (tanzaku), origami, talismans and
colored threads are erected along the streets and outside homes.
parades, beauty contests and firework displays also take place in many areas.
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