K and I headed over there in mid morning and she found a free parking space in her "secret" little parking lot just a block from the Torii which marks the entrance to the shrine. The shrine can become a busy place on holidays such as this.
There were not quite as many flowers on display as there were last year. You can see pictures I took then on my post "Mum's the Word". The displays that were there didn't have as many blossoms yet, so we'll have to check back later in the month.
The Sumo Festival had just one more round to go by the time we arrived. Two boys faced off with their fathers holding them at the waist. A group of the shrine's priests, in their white robes and very cool hats, looked on at ringside. The match was ruled to be a draw and an enthusiastic audience applauded.
The momiji (maple) tree in front of the Hondo (main hall of worship) was verdant. I enjoy seeing the changes this tree goes through during each season. You may recall the picture of it posted recently which showed it with autumn tinted leaves which became the cover for "Ya'sou!" online poetry magazine.
Another annual event in November is celebrated on the 15th. It is called "Shichi Go San", literally "Seven Five Three". Parents bring their children who will turn seven, five, or three years of age in the coming year to the shrine dressed in kimono to pray for their growth and health. Several families took advantage of Culture Day to bring their children a bit early.
After watching the sumo match we walked the 500 meters down the wide cedar lined path to the inner shrine with its older Hondo. We stopped at the souvenir shop there and enjoyed ocha (green tea) and Zenzai (sweet azuki bean soup with mochi rice cakes) and macha (a strong green tea made from powdered tea used in tea ceremonies) with rice cakes. Azuki beans are sweet whereas macha is slightly bitter, so the two dishes complement each other.
We enjoyed Culture Day at the shrine. The weather in the late afternoon was getting cool, but we decided to take a bike ride to lake Kitaura. We spent our day in the spirit of the holiday, celebrating culture, our freedom, and peace.