Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wind Chime Festival at Kawasaki Daishi

I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who always finds out about a cool festival...right after it has concluded.

The Kawasaki Daishi Wind Chime festival has been on my to do list for years. But, as it only lasts 5 days (of which only two are non-work days) each time I have managed to be elsewhere or forget about it. But this year I actually got my butt into gear (aka: wrote the days down in my planner) and whisked off on the adorable retro trains with a running friend and her boyfriend, to check out the chimes.
The temple is a 10 minute walk away from the tiny Kawasaki Daishi station, and is a nice old-fashioned temple town, the main street dotted with purveyors of kuzu mochi, the local delicacy.
Approaching the temple, the energetic sound of cleavers on wood welcomes visitors, as old fashioned candy stores line the way, interspersed with shops selling bright red daruma . The sesame filled candies are definitely worth a try!
The wind chime market itself is covered and misted with cool water, a nice respite from the July sun. The creators of these lovely crafts come from all across Japan, representing almost every prefecture, to display and sell their wares. The varieties are endless, from classic glass globes and iron bells, to unusual charcoal, bamboo and pottery chimes. The sounds are also very important, although it can be hard to figure out where they come from, due to the sheer quantity of wind chimes! Personally, I am partial to high, light bell tones (from small, heavy iron chimes) and the charming clunky sound of pottery chimes.

The colours and shapes are a feast for the eyes, and it is hard to choose a favorite amongst them all. Eventually I settled on a colourful fuurin from Akita, a heavy bell attached to a hand-decorated silk ball (in the picture above).
These apple chimes were a big hit, lots of children were requesting their parents to buy them. The glass chimes were the most creative, with all sorts of different shapes... including a cucumber which was entirely too suggestive!

My new chime is proudly hanging by the window in my room... now if we could just get a breeze to go with it!

(All photos by the awesome Eugene Roussin, used with permission)

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