TAHARA MATSURI: SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
Tahara City sits at the head of Japan's Atsumi Peninsula. A two hour train ride from Nagoya Station, the city welcomes visitors with a landscape speckled with convenience stores, melon farms, and solar panels. On a typical Friday morning, traffic inches across Tahara Bay towards the second-largest Toyota manufacturing plant in Japan, as surfers head to the coast to tackle some of the most thrilling waves in the Pacific.
However, this weekend is different. This weekend, all roads lead to the Tahara Matsuri, one of the last major summer festival in Aichi prefecture.
Japanese festivals are distinguished by dashi, the multi-tiered floats that travel through city streets. Appearing as joyous thrones, these dashi sway above crowds of onlookers, marking the start of the weekend's festivities. Inside, musicians sit tightly packed with their instruments on the first floor, while mechanical puppets move six meters above their heads. These automated puppets, known as karakuri ningyo or "mechanical dolls," are what brings me to Tahara.
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