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May 26, 2019 - Matsue Horanenya - Kangyosai 還御祭
It was finally time for the last day of the Horanenya festival in Matsue! This was the day whereby the relic was scheduled to return to the castle from the Adakaya Shrine in the suburbs after getting blessed.
Although the Kaidenma parade was only scheduled to start at about 11.50am, I headed off for the festival early before 9.00am in order to get prime seating at the Shinohashi bridge. When I arrived, the middle section of the bridge was already occupied by tourists. More people began to trickle in as I waited for the festival to start.
About 20 minutes before the Kaidenma parade began, the Kaidenma boats and the mikoshi were spotted at the other side of the large bridge ahead of us. Soon, a small boat with a priest shaking some branches came to bless the river for a smooth and safe festival. After the priest finished blessing the river, it was time for the Kaidenma boat parade to begin!
The Kaidenma performance on the first section of the river ended after more than an hour and some people either left the festival or went off the view the Kaidenma boat parade again at the next section of the river.
I instead went to have lunch at a place called Green's Baby opposite the Kitatono Guesthouse where I stayed before. Green's Baby was a hipster cafe with an all-you-can-eat salad buffet and an international menu of Thai, Southern and Mexican food. I tried the house special gumbo and later, added a taco and a chai cheesecake that came with a delicious dollop of homemade coconut ice cream made with real coconut. While having lunch, I enjoyed a live performance by a young Japanese singer who sung in French and came to promote her new album.
Another reason why I had lunch at Green's Baby was to see the end of the Horanenya festival: the parade of the mikoshi heading back to the Jozan Inari Shrine near the castle. After lunch, I headed to Kitatono Guesthouse to say hi to the owner. There we waited and watched the parade together.
After the parade was over, it was time to leave Matsue and head for my next destination, Tottori City. Before I left, I cheekily told the owner of Kitatono Guesthouse, 'See you again in ten years!'
Along the way back to the train station, I saw a cute little handicapped doggie dressed like one of the kabuki warriors of the Kaidenma boat. Then, I found the Kaidenma boats docked at the riverside and tourists were allowed to freely step on the Kaidenma boats. This was the perfect time to take a selfie in front of the Kaidenma boats before bidding farewell to Matsue and its fantastic Horanenya festival.
I finally arrived at my final destination of the San'in region, Tottori City, thinking what a wonderful and satisfying experience I had seeing the Horanenya festival from start to finish.
My lodging for the night was the well-known Y Pub and Hostel Tottori, staffed completely by young girls and tastefully decorated, as mentioned before by the owner of Kitatono. I told the girls that I stayed in Kitatono before and they explained that they know the owner who had come here to stay before. It was very amusing to know that the owners of the hostels in the same region are acquainted to each other and help to promote each other's place. Since I was tired and had to do some laundry, I decided not to go out and have dinner in the hostel to try out some of their tasty specialties.
For more photos and videos of the final day of the Horanenya festival, please find them at my flickr album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/124829205@N08/albums/72157708934963866/page1