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Contains: Tokyo, principal Honshu, Kyoto urban, Western Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa, Northern Honshu, and Hokkaido.

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Were collected in the thousands and set by roadsides. Heads Ronin (“floating men”) were samurai without allegience to particular masters. In the 47 Ronin Incident of 1703, portrayed in the Kabuki play Chushingura, a group of ronin avenged the killing of their lord, then were ordered to commit suicide by the shogunate (see p103). 55 56 I N T R O D U C I N G J A PA N Hongan-ji, a nearly impregnable temple fortress in what is now central Osaka. Surrounded by moats and walls, the temple had been the power base of the Buddhist True T -Pure-Land sect.

Torches lining the route to Yuki Shrine, Kurama, are set alight, and children march through them holding more torches. SEPTEMBER Hachiman-gu Festival (Sep 14–16), Kamakura. A procession of floats and horseback archery at the Hachimangu Shrine invariably draw a big crowd (see p43). FALL Although the children are back at school and the sea is once again “closed,” the heat goes on. Now is the time to start thinking about harvesting the rice. Apples flood the shops, leaves start to fall, and snow will soon begin in the north.

Five large bonfires on the hills surrounding the city burn to mark the end of Bon, followed by dancing. Himeji, Hyogo prefecture. At Matsubara Shrine, nearly naked youths carrying mikoshii challenge each others’ skills in balancing. Doburoku Matsuri (Oct 14–19), Shirakawa-go, Gifu prefecture. A harvest festival with dancing and drinking. Nagoya Festival (Fri–Sun in mid-Oct). Long procession in Nagoya City with impersonations of historical characters. Tosho-gu Fall Festival (Oct 17), Nikko, Tochigi prefecture.

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