I’m sure you might be getting fed up of my matsuri (festival) posts, but tis the season for these events and I love going to these festivals as they all have a different theme.
Today’s post is on the Sumomo matsuri (plum festival), and Setagaya Firefly Festival & Sagiso market. I managed to hit both of these events today before the rain started.
I did have plans to go to a different matsuri yesterday, and see some fireworks in the evening, but the rain is still a looming presence which can be a bit of a downer when you go to outdoor events like these, so I didn’t go to either one 😦 but I made up for it by going to two events today! Yay!
I actually only planned to go to the Sumomo Matsuri as it was held in Fuchu, a half an hour bike ride from the dormitory. But since I got there early and didn’t have anything planned in the afternoon, I also went to the festival in Setagaya.
The plum festival is held at Okunitama Shrine in Fuchu because long ago a warlord called Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and his son Yoshiie prayed for their victory in the Zenkunen War (1051-1063). Their wish was granted, and that was how this festival came about.
It was more or less your standard festival (food stalls/games), but with some plum stalls thrown in.
Compared to the Mitama Matsuri I went to last weekend, the food stalls at Okunitama shrine were more interesting, and dare I say, better quality. There were far less people at this matsuri, which made the experience more relaxing.
I’ve actually been to this shrine before – it’s a tradition in Japan to pay a visit to a shrine as part of the New Years festivities, and Okunitama shrine was one of the shrines I visited during that time.
Since the shrine isn’t that big, I managed to look around most of the stalls, and finally settled on a few things to eat for lunch.
After munching through some savoury pancake thing, and a custard taiyaki, I realised it was only noon so I had time to go to the Setagaya Festival. Since I cycled to Fuchu, I thought “Why not cycle to Setagaya?!”.
To give you an idea of where all these places are, I’ve mapped it out for you.
I managed to get to Setagaya in about 1hr 45mins.
It’s pretty far away. Haha!
I love cycling, even if it’s hot. I don’t really cycle around London because it’s kind of dangerous, so I enjoy exploring Japan by bicycle.
At around 2pm I arrived in Kamimachi, Setagaya, for the firefly/sagiso market. Now, I’m afraid the rest of the blog post might seem a bit dry because not much happened while I was at this festival.
Since this festival was mainly all about fireflies, nothing was really happening when I arrived because obviously you can’t see the light of the fireflies that well when it’s still daytime. Ideally, for these events you need to get there in the evening, but I didn’t want to hang around for 5 hrs to see fireflies since I had already seem them a few weeks ago.
I guess the stall owners felt the same, that people were only going to turn up in the evening to see the fireflies, so even though the event started at noon many of the stalls were still setting up when I got there (2/3pm).
Anyhoo, I walked around Kamimachi and did the firefly tour. The layout of tour was pretty good as it’s held within the Folk Museum grounds. Compared to the firefly event at Yomiuri land where the fireflies just fly around, here they had them in “cages” with a black plastic sheet covering the front. You’re supposed to duck underneath them to see the fireflies.
I guess the fireflies were sleeping as there were no lights to be seen coming from them. I did pay a visit to the museum since it’s part of the firefly tour, and I took some photos of the Sagiso plant.
This is a special type of orchid and it is the official flower of Setagaya ward. Apparently this orchid is in full bloom around July/August and fireflies are a summer thing, so I guess that is why they combined these two things into one event.
I had a funny feeling it was going to rain later, not just because the weather forecast app on my phone said so (I don’t trust the app). So I headed back at around 3.30pm. It actually took me 2 hrs to get back to the dormitory from Kamimachi so I was pretty tired when I finally arrived home.
This is my final week of university here in Japan – my last zemi tomorrow, and two more exams and then I’m done! Be prepared for all the fun things I’m going to do post-exams!
Thanks for reading!