Danjiri Festival begins under COVID-19 restriction

NHK -- Oct 12
A main event of a long-running festival usually held in western Japan has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Danjiri Festival features men in happi coats hauling large wooden carts resembling shrines called "danjiri" through the narrow streets of the city of Kishiwada in Osaka Prefecture.

The tradition stretches back over 300 years. But the main event has been canceled this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, as it would likely draw large crowds.

Only related shinto rituals took place. Float event managers received paper decorations bearing the chief priest's prayer for good harvest at a local shrine.

Then local people decorated the floats with the paper as usual. Local residents played Japanese drums and flutes to create a festive mood.

City officials say the last time the main event was cancelled was in 1945, immediately after World War Two.

A float event manager said the festival cheers up the local people. He said it is disappointing that the float event was cancelled, but that he was happy to have taken part in the shinto rituals.

- NHK