I mentioned previously here that Naoshima is so much more than just pumpkins. Nothing can show this more than the local festival which sees the entire island unite in celebration.

I was lucky enough to be staying with a friend on the island at the time and soon found myself in the crowded streets being pushed, squeezed and - in true Japanese style - apologized to at every turn.  This festival allows the usually sleepy backstreets of Naoshima to take centre stage for a change as a Mikoshi Shrine is carried through the villages.
A team of locals carry this unfathomably heavy shrine up and down the streets whilst a handful of elementary school boys play the taiko drums on top. Another shrine with elementary school girls follows nearby with a beautifully intricate array of clothing, fabric and musical instruments to be seen.

Even though I am not local to the island I soon found myself dragged in to the celebrations and inevitably ended up helping to carry, lift and run with the heaviest of the shrines. It’s impossible not to get dragged in to the spirit of the party and be grateful that this thriving island community is so open and welcoming.  If you visit here at just the right time then hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to see the true side of island life.
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