As we reached the furthest area of the festival, dusk was fully upon us. Of course, in a Japanese festival, night time isn’t an excuse to go home and have a quiet dinner, but rather a time to hang out the lanterns, light up the streets and keep partying!
The floats had been pretty impressive in the daylight hours, but bedecked with lanterns and lights they were even more so. At first the daytime crowds seemed to thin a bit, but that was an artifact of our location at the fringes of the action. As we headed back towards the central streets, things got even busier and more packed than they had been.
At each major intersection a troupe of acrobatic old fashioned firemen did a performance. They would lift a ladder far above the crowds, and then members would climb up and do tricks high above our heads. Their skills were impressive, and a large crowd gathered around. A very large crowd. As the performance ended, we had to all hold on to each other to make sure we weren’t separated as we ploughed through the teeming horde of people.
Things got so busy that we eventually took to a side street to avoid the crowds. While we did miss the bright festival booths in that area, by this point each of us had overindulged in festival food, and weren’t in a mood to do much more buying. We were in the mood to sit down and relax, and to sing. Once we found a good karaoke booth, we stayed for three hours of badly belted melodies and draft beer. It was a perfect end to a great day.