This past weekend when Dave and I were in Kamakura, I saw a flier for a Menkake Procession being held at the Goryo Jinja Temple in Hase. Dave obviously had to work today and couldn’t join me. Fortunately, Katie was free and accompanied me on this interesting adventure. The parade wasn’t until 2:30pm. We decided to meet earlier and enjoy lunch by the beach. Katie suggested a cute little cafe called Cocomo that she has been interested in visiting. It was adorable!
The view was spectacular! We had a seat directly in front of the large open window that overlooked the beach. It reminded me of the Belvedere in Virginia Beach.
The food was delicious. I ordered the margherita pizza and Katie ordered the shrimp and avocado salad. We highly recommend both!
After lunch, we went to the Goryo Jinja Temple. We wanted to make sure we knew where to go and have time to see what was happening. Upon arrival, we found a huge crowd gathered around the traditional music being played. It was beautiful to listen to as we walked around the temple.
We decided to walk down to the beach and wait for the procession to begin. We were lucky to catch the Enoden train as it passed by the Temple.
It was a beautiful beach day! The day was full of faces. We passed a man making a face in the sand. Kawaii!
Once it was closer to the time of the procession, we walked back to the Temple. While we were waiting, I did a little research so we could better understand the significance of the Menkake Procession.
According to my research, the legend goes something like this. The samurai leader, Yoritomo Minamoto, impregnated a girl of a lower house. When the girl’s family would come to visit them, they wore masks to conceal their identities and poorer backgrounds. The Menkake Procession includes ten masked men. The masks they are wearing are over 200 years old. This is a special celebration and can only be observed in Kanagawa. As a result, the procession has been designated as a Intangible Cultural Asset by the Prefectural Government of Kanagawa. There was a good crowd viewing the procession and the street was very narrow.
With a little persistence, I was able to get a few good photos of the masked men.
Also part of the procession was a masked pregnant woman wearing a kimono. The crowd was encouraged to touch her belly. Her pregnancy is a symbol of good luck and good harvest. The mask in front is of Fukurokuju, one of the seven lucky Gods.
As with all Japanese parades, a Mikoshi was pulled. The Mikoshi is a Shrine for the God to be transported during the procession.
We enjoyed the afternoon. Especially, lunch and beach time. The procession was fun to observe. There are so many interesting and small events in Japan. I feel fortunate when I happen to find out about one in time to enjoy it!