Friday, February 26, 2010

Seijin no hi

On the second Monday in January each year a massive horde of 20 years olds dress up in their fanciest kimono and strut around town as new adults, finally allowed to drink, smoke, and vote. It's Coming of Age Day or Seijin no hi. This year I had planned a trip to Irago and Ise on the same weekend, not knowing I was about to stumble onto one of the busiest times of the year at Ise Shrine.

The crowds almost sent me into anxiety overload but the beautiful kimonos and outrageous accessories on both girls and guys was enough to make up for hyperventilating. We took the ferry from Irago to Tobu and then caught a train to Ise. Then we tried to catch a bus to the Inner Shrine - Naikyu - but we quickly realized that we would get there faster if we got off and just walked. Everywhere was packed full of people and we weren't able to eat lunch or do much souvenir shopping. We tried to get a taxi back to the train station but had to give that up as well and ended up walking.

I've been to Ise Shrine before and I think without the crowds it's a very beautiful and peaceful place but this weekend it was just chaos. Still, I was glad we went. If you want to see some more pictures (and ones that are better than mine frankly) then check out this website.

Waiting for the train to Ise we got a preview of what was to come.

Check out the big as your head hair accessories!

Walking was much faster than the bus.

The main shopping street. I don't do well with crowds so I'm hyperventilating at this point.

At the entrance to Ise's Inner Shrine.

Even the boys had on fun kimono.

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