The scenery in the morning of Shirotori Town
August 15th, Tuesday
This is the second day of Bon Dancing Tour

When we went to the buffet for breakfast, it seemed that they were holding a family meeting. The people whom we thought employees were family member, actually. We thought that family-run business is very tough in the busy season of Obon.

However, the kind master took us to a drive around Shirotori Town.

The master looked down from the Okuminoh Ouhashi (Okuminoh Bridge). Quote: “The volume of water of Nagara River is small this year.” He told us that sweetfish-fishing of the period is also poor catch.
Handmade souvenirs such as dyed cotton products and wood works of the local dealers hit the product center. Here, we bought a must of summer holidays, the “straw hat”. We also got maps and brochures of Shirotori Dancing. After this, the master drove us to Shirotori Library.
Thank you very much, master!

Miso shop built in Japanese architecture

Summer skies spread over the vicinity of Shirotori Station

In the nice and cool library, we quarried documents related to Bon Dancing along with the children who are engaging in their homework for summer holidays. The librarian allowed us to take a photocopy of massive documents outside when we explained our condition. (Thank you very much dear librarian!)
The image of our homepage expands as we obtain new information related to Shirotori Dancing.

Along the way to photocopying, we strolled around the town of Shirotori. The town was very quiet in the daytime, and the bustle of the dance last night was unbelievable. As we walked sweating, we saw a lot of old buildings such as miso shops.

Before noon, we headed for Gujo Hachiman again on Nagaragawa Railroad.
Today is also a good weather!

We came back again, Gujo Hachiman!

We returned to Gujo Hachiman and obtained “dancing schedule” of this year at the station.

We strolled around the fondly-remembered streets from the station plaza. We walked through Shin-sakae-machi and Ima-machi and headed for the plaza in front of the town hall. Flowering plants of the season are decorated in the houses along the streets. There are houses that hang paper lanterns in the edge of the eaves.

We drank Gujo milk while sitting on the bamboo bench of the milkman’s shop near Sakae-machi. We felt that we have come back to the fondly-remembered summer of Gujo.

We came back again, Gujo Hachiman

The flowering plant which is a season in scope in a house

The summer feature: Diving at Yoshida River
And now, soon it will be noon.

We ducked under a shop curtain of a restaurant called “Shinkyou-tei” located in the riverside of Yoshida River which we had an eye on for some time. In this case, a set menu of fresh sweetfish would be the right choice. Of course, a bottle of beer is a must.

We drank a glass of beer with sweetfish as a tidbit.
Both Ishimitsu and Yanagita are in a summer vacation mode any time now!
Shinkyou-tei is located in a perfect place facing the clear stream of Yoshida River, just as its name tells.
From the window of the restaurant, we could perfectly enjoy watching the children dive into the river (this became quite famous as the seasonal tradition of Gujo) with a glass of beer in our hands.
The water was blue, and the riverside was bright green with the color of the plants. The children swimming seemed that they felt really good.
In the downstream, we could see people with family enjoy playing in the river.

This is really a summer vacation in Japan!

(the picture taken from Shinkyou-tei)

I’m going to dive!

It looks really good under the bridgec

Yoshida River in midsummer

Procure yukata for dancing
We took a walk around the fondly-remembered streets of Gujo Hachiman, such as Igawa Komichi and Yanaka Mizuno Komichi).
We dropped in to “Ishiyama Gofukuten (Ishiyama Kimono Shop) in Kami Hinode-machi in the end.
We immediately went upstairs led by the proprietress. Here, they lend us the yukata for dancing.

Those who are not comfortable with kimono, don’t worry. The proprietress selects them skillfully, so you can borrow them without anxiety. We make it a rule to drop in here whenever we come to Gujo since the first time we borrowed an all-out yukata for dancing. (For your information, yukata is not only for girls. Even if you are a man, you would feel splendid if you dance in a decent yukata when you dance Gujo Dancing. Why don’t you try it!).

When it was time that the sun goes down, we took a cab in Hashimoto-cho and headed for “Gujo Hachiman Onsen Hotel Housen”
According to the schedule, we always stay in this hotel when we come to Gujo. We just make it a rule.
We took a bath in the nice open-air bath along the Nagara River, and rested for a while in the hotel room to prepare for the dance.

A new sensation for this year

PM 8:30

We got dressed to yukata for dancing in our room, got prepared and got going.
The courtesy bus was already waiting for us at the front of the entrance of the hotel.
As this year is Tetsuya Dancing, we rode into the dancing site to allow enough time for the start of the dance.
Today is the second day of Tetsuya Dancing, and the dancing site would be from Hashimoto-cho to Shin-machi.

This would be the 5th time for us to participate in Gujo Dancing.
Although we worried a bit if “we would be getting a little bit bored this time” since this year we experienced new Bon Dancings like Shirotori and Niinoc

The torrent of people that head for the dancing site (around Shin-machi)

The players of musical accompaniment sing enthusiastically on the dancing scaffold.

As may be expected of the fact that this is the fifth time that we participate in this dance, “the body” remembers the swing of the hands and feet. The way we danced “Kawasaki” was somewhat awkward in the past, but this year, our feet moves naturally. Finally, we come to understand the difficult timing of the shout of “Harukoma”


Unexpectedly, we were in good form in the dances; “Gen-gen-bara-bara” and “Yacchiku”, and we were in fascination before we were aware.
Apparently, the secret why Gujo Dancing is loved by so many people is because of the point that you get more and more fun as you become more and more accustomed and familiar with the dance.

You can’t miss the open-air stall in a festival

Children flock together to goldfish scooping and ice shavings.
Among them, there was an attraction called “eel fishing”. (Although we don’t see this very much in the Kanto regionc)

The staple, goldfish scooping

I saw “eel fishing” for the first time in my life

Tetsuya dancing is a fun “summer festival”.
Every one is enjoying the summer night of Gujo Hachiman in their own way.
While we found it hard to tear wrenchc
Was it around 11:30PM ?
The Tetsuya dancing was increasingly picking up stream. Yanagita was crazed with dancing losing the sense of time and was out of himself.

He came to himself at last by the call of Ishimitsu saying, “Tomorrow’s gonna be another Tetsuya dancing!”
It’s a pity, I haven’t still danced my favorite “Sambyaku”. While I found it hard to tear wrench, I was obliged to leave the dancing circle, and left the dancing site. This was the first time I found it so hard to leave the site after I joined there 4 times before.

When we returned to the hotel, and while we were taking a bath in the big bath, young people who seemed to have joined the dance for the first time this year was excited and gathering stream saying, “Let’s go dancing once again from now!” All in all, Tetsuya dancing seems to have a special kind of ambience that attracts the people.
We felt once again that Gujo Dance is amazing in the Tetsuya dancing.

In the next morning, we went to the Ishiyama Kimono Shop and returned the kimono for dancing. In this occasion, Yanagita ordered yukata of his own at last. It takes about a week for the hand stitch all-out yukata to be completed. I have to wait till Bon season in 2001 until I can dance in it