Enjoy the journey.

Butterflies and Flowers: Nagahama Kimono Festival

By Gem477  (A more complete album of Kin’s pictures can be found on our Facebook page.)

On October 12, Nagahama once again celebrated its long silk-weaving history by hosting the Nagahama Kimono Garden Party in Kurokabe SquareLaughing girl

Every year, a thousand glamorous butterflies dress in their most beautiful kimono (both modern and traditional) and descend on the town for their chance to eat free ice cream, win lottery prizes, and be relentlessly photographed. And photographed. And photographed!

545One of the nicest things about this festival is that, unlike most kimono-related occasions, you get to wear any sort of kimono you like. Traditional Kyoto, modern Kimono Hime vibe, formal, informal, anything goes.554

530Most gorgeous were the young women in furisode, the brilliantly coloured, long-sleeved kimono traditionally worn for Coming Of Age. I believe that I, along with the other matrons, carried myself well in paler robes with simpler designs. But the furisode girls’ showy designs and spectacular hairstyles definitely put us in the shade!

503Fortunately (unfortunately?) even if I weren’t in furisode, an Anglo-Saxon in Japanese formal wear is unusual enough in a country town that I still attracted plenty of attention. I did mention there were photographers, right?


A LOT of photographers. And when you have that many photographers, it actually gets a little hard to deal with. Of course, when you’ve dressed up to feel beautiful, it’s lovely to have other people think you look beautiful as wel548

But not, actually, as lovely as you’d think. The photographers were like seagulls at a picnic; as soon as you toss a crust to one (Hai, shashin OK,) the whole flock spots it and before you know it, you’re surrounded by thirty lenses and your friends have disappeared.

Overwhelmed little oneI don’t think anyone was as relentlessly pursued as this little one, pictured here trying to hide from the solid mass of photographers surrounding her. Fear not, this photo did not add to her woes! Kin’s work is very subtle.

Poor Kin, who absolutely HATES being photographed, was also a popular target, thanks to his blonde hair and red hat. Luckily, he had his own lens to hide behind, and managed to fight back nobly.

526Of course, like any festival, the kimono ladies weren’t the only attraction. Kurokabe is popular with tourists at any time, and many local organisations were also out showing off, like the local antique gun club (weapons manufacture is another local specialty…yay?) and a group of Imperial Guards in badly-fitting uniforms.



This gentleman was a noble-looking exception to the rest of his cohort, and we suspect this was mostly to do with his age. The rest of the “guards” were scruffy looking young men in their teens and early twenties, who were FAR too scrawny for their jackets, while he was probably more the age group who first commissioned the uniforms (and had the income to pay for them).

532These guards were also not the only uniformed warriors present on the day! We were fortunate enough to run into another Nagahama celebrity having a snooze in the sun.

Samurai kittyOur commitment to living locally was wonderfully rewarded by this festival. Rabid photographers, beautiful ladies and firearm enthusiasts (not to mention giant beers and samurai cats) make a combination that will definitely live on in our memories.

Again,  for a more complete album of Kin’s photographs, please check out our Facebook page. Meanwhile, what amazing events are happening in YOUR area? Let us know!




  1. fingknitcoolgal

    Wow! You looked beautiful! The epitome of elegance & grace. I am very impressed. (^-^)
    Kimono certainly has its charm even though wearing one is not easy. I remember that I could eat less than half the amount I wanted to eat when I was wearing kimono! Obi works like a corset, doesn’t it?

    • En Route to Awesome

      Thank you! It’s not really me, though; Kin is very good at taking nice photos.

      I normally find kimono really comfortable, but this day I’d been dressed by a pro and WOW! I have rarely been as unhappy in my clothes!

      I might not have managed to fit lunch in, but I was still able to drink a lot of beer, once we found a restaurant with booths where no-one could see me being so unladylike! ^^

      • fingknitcoolgal

        Hahaha-, I love you drinking beer with kimono on! So cool.
        The pro kimono dresser reminds me that black maid in Gone with the Wind, tightening Scarlet’s corset like there was no tomorrow. (^_^;)

  2. Vividhunter

    Gorgeous shots and great writing – I will have to try and schedule this one in next year.

  3. gr08gee

    The images used here are amazing, as beautiful as your writing.

    • En Route to Awesome

      You’re very kind!

      I’m very proud of Kin’s photography; most of the time, I think he manages to say it all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

© 2024 En Route to Awesome

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑