The Inuyama Matsuri Festival first became an annual event in 1635 and since then has continued to capture the pageantry and the color of bygone eras. Highlighting the festival is the parade of 13 floats from the 13 original districts of the Inuyama Castle Town. Each float is around 7.6 meters or 25 feet high. Men navigate the ponderous floats along the narrow streets to the Haritsuna Shrine. Inside ride the musicians who play Japanese flutes and beat on taiko drums. At intersections, the men combine strength with determination to turn the huge structures.
The ages of the musicians fascinated me. Some children looked to be preschool age. The oldest might have been in the fifth or sixth grade of elementary school. I learned later the children begin practicing at a early age. Before the major event, they work together with the older musicians rehearsing the music and drum beats.
The following day I trained my camera on the children. As captivating as the parade and the performance of the mechanized puppets were, I found the expressions of the musicians far more engaging.