I had never seen the event before and had no particular attachment to it. However, when I heard that it would be held for the first time in three years, my heart soared and I set out for Narita in Chiba Prefecture. Narita is home to Narita Airport. The Narita Gion Festival, which had been canceled since the COVID-19 pandemic, was to be held this year.
When I think of the Gion Festival, the first thing that comes to mind is the festival at Yasaka Jinja Shrine in Kyoto. One would think that the Narita Gion Festival, like the Gion Festival at Yasaka Shrine, would be somehow related to the Gion Festival because of the large floats that parade through the town, but that is not the case. The reason the Yasaka Jinja Shrine festival is called the Gion Festival is that the Yasaka Shrine was once called the Gion Shrine. In contrast, the Narita Gion Festival is called the Gion Festival because it is held during the Naritasan Gion-e, a religious event of the Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple.
To begin with, "Gion" refers to the Jetavana (Gion Shoja in Japanese). It refers to a Buddhist monastery in the Shravasti district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Nowadays, the location has been identified and it becomes a historical park. The park is said to have an incense hall and a stupa, where the Buddha is said to have preached. However, few Japanese people think of India when they hear the word "Gion." Perhaps it is because the beginning of the Tale of the Heike, "The sound of the bells of Gion Shoja echoes the impermanence of all things," is recited in a poem.
Although the Tale of the Heike recites the sound of the bell of Gion Shoja, there was no bell in the real Gion Shoja. The bell is said to have originated in China and was not found in India.
|Oct 2022 CHIBA PEOPLE|
|FESTIVAL NARITA ROPE|
October 10, 2022
March 19, 2023
SONY ALPHA 7R II
EF135MM F2L USM