The annual Maihara (Maibara) Hikiyama Festival was held on Oct. 9-11, 2010 near Maibara Station. I went to see it on Oct. 10 (Sun.). It rained in the morning and the floats were covered with blue vinyl sheets, but the rain stopped by early afternoon and I watched it at Yutani Shrine. Google Map
The festival was modeled after the more famous Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri. Although the Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri is a smaller festival with only three floats (only two of them appear during the festival), it was no less impressive with the highly-trained grade school boys performing kabuki on the ornate floats.
Went to see the Mt. Ibuki Taiko Drum Dance (伊吹山奉納太鼓踊り Ibukiyama Hono Taiko Odori) on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. It is held only once every five years. I saw it before 5 years ago, but this time I wanted to take better videos and photos (with higher resolution cameras). Luckily, it didn’t rain during the festival, but this dance did seem to beckon the rain, as it rained later in the day.
Held in a small settlement called Ueno at the foot of Mt. Ibuki in Maibara, Shiga Prefecture. There’s Sannomiya Shrine near where you board the gondola (and the old chair lift) to go up Mt. Ibuki. Long ago, villagers in Ueno prayed for rain by doing the thunder dance by beating drums and bells, lighting torches, etc., in Mt. Ibuki. Then after the rainfall and a good harvest in autumn, they danced in appreciation. The dance they perform today is based on this thanksgiving dance. Google Map
The taiko drummers spent three and a half months since June to practice. I have posted the video above. This is my first 15-min. video at YouTube, after they started allowing 15-min. video clips (instead of only 10 min.).