The annual festival of the Sakata city, in Yamagata Prefecture, has been performed without any interruption since more than 400 years ago. However, 39 years ago a parade of lion floats had been added. The clay lion heads, (shishi-gashira in Japanese) are talismans against evil and were added to protect the city after a devastating fire destroyed a large part of Sakata in 1976.
Pairs of lion statues (the male is black and the female is red) can be admired in several parts of the city, installed there as symbols of recovery.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: