Tokyo summer festival soaking

People pouring buckets of ice water over themselves for charity may well be a thing at the moment, but at the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri in Tokyo, they have been doing something very similar for much, much longer. A simple bit of festival fun that many look forward to. Even getting all dressed up just to get a good soaking.

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri Tokyo water festival

And as such, it’s enjoyed by people of all ages, although sulking little lads are sometimes an exception.

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri Tokyo water festival

Geisha in Gion

With our technology, consumerism and relentless obsession with talentless celebrities, the geisha in Kyoto arguably seem even more out of place than ever. Odd, almost ghost-like figures who effortlessly weave through the narrow, tourist-filled streets of their native Gion – their sporadic outings greeted with a mixture of giddy glee and hushed reverence. Neither of which are in any way surprising considering the geishas’ scarcity and history. Not to mention of course their incredible outfits and otherworldly appearance.

Japanese geisha in Kyoto

Yet for me at least it’s not their elegance or overall look that really sticks in the mind, but the surprisingly rapid clip-clop of traditional geta, plus the briefest glimpse of a painted neck, as they dash past on the way from one appointment to another.