Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ohara-me festival celebrates the strong women of Ohara

In the north of Kyoto, in Sakyo Ward, lies a pitoresque mountain village called Ohara. Very much in the rural area, the lives of the inhabitants of Ohara is still for the most part about farming. The women of Ohara are famous for it even. Wearing traditional farm clothing, they are called 'Oharame'. These women come to the city of Kyoto still today, selling mostly vegetables and sometimes flowers. Nowadays they use pull carts, but mostly small trucks. In earlier times the women carried their loads on their heads.

As part of the Aoi festival, from May 1st till May 15th, lost of festivals (matsuri) are celebrated all over the Kyoto area, every day. At Ohara on May 12th, the girls and women of Ohara wear their traditional costumes, stemming from the Muromachi era. From the very young to the old, they are all proud of their ancestry. The Oharame walk in procession through their village starting at the Shorin-in (temple). And since Ohara is not only famous for it's strong women, but also for their many temples, the procession get's a beautiful and ancient background. One of the most famous temples of Ohara, Hosen-in is included in the tour too. The procession ends after two kilometers, at the Sanzen-in temple. At the starting point, however you'll get ample time to take pictures. There is even an official moment to take a group portrait. Which a lot of beaming grand-parents do!

Furthermore Ohara has a charming shopping street up the mountain where local products are sold, like pickles, jams, wooden and leather wares, furoshiki and more. But the most beautiful about Ohara is just strolling around, walking through the mountainous landscape and savour the view.

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