TOKYO: Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo’s largest and most important shrines, celebrated the 2,684th anniversary of the founding of Japan on February 11, which is known as Foundation Day.
Fourteen mikoshi mobile shrines passed through the tori (gateways) that lead to the sacred main enclosure, accompanied by cries of pilgrims carrying palanquins weighing several hundred kilos.
A giant taiko drum beaten by two drummers resonated around the shrine, while musicians played on decorated float with a figurine of Emperor Jimmu, who, according to Japanese mythology, was the nation’s first emperor.
The festival coincides with the Lunar New Year and the arrival of spring.
The parade passed successively through the main gates of the shrine and the devout bearers of the mikoshi were blessed by the high priest before placing their shrines in the sacred enclosure.
The Founding Ceremony of Japan — which takes place at all shrines — is considered one of the four major holidays of Japan.
The shrine administration issued a written statement that said: “In this year of Imperial rule, let us move forward with courage to create a better society and nation, while appreciating the efforts of our ancestors for the prosperity of Japan.”