Washimiya, Saitama has become synonymous with the comedy anime, Lucky Star, and in this year’s Haji Festival, the anime was featured once again in one of the annual autumn festival’s mikoshi or portable shrines.
Just like last year’s Haji Festival, Lucky Star fans and volunteers paraded the mikoshi through the streets of Washimiya as part of the Haji Festival tradition. This year’s Haji Festival was held last Sunday, September 7, 2014 and it welcomed approximately 75,000 visitors into Washimiya district, about 1,500 more tourists than last year.
Those who were involved in moving the shrine chanted “Konata! Konata! Konata!” and “Kagami! Kagami! Kagami!” as they paraded the shrine and dedicated it to the series’ two main characters which are Konata and Kagami.
The portable shrine, which features the various Lucky ☆ Star characters, has participated in the annual Haji Festival since 2008. The annual autumn festival is dedicated to the Washimiya Shrine, one of the oldest Shrines in the Kanto region. The Washimiya shrine is also where the Hiiragi twins, Kagami and Tsukasa, work as Miko (Shrine Maidens), and ever since the anime began airing, fans of the anime series have most certainly done some pilgrimages to the shrine. The town is so Lucky-Star crazy that annual birthday celebrations dedicated to the Hiiragi twins are held each year. Also, the anime is said to be the main reason why visitors flock to Washinomiya shrine, particularly for New Year’s visit which usually see 470,000 visitors each tear.
Washimiya truly adopted Lucky Star as its own for the festival and rightfully so as the anime has become one of the biggest reasons why tourists are flocking into the area. During this year’s festival, the town welcomed some Lucky Star cosplayers and even featured the anime’s characters in the posters. Washimiya is truly one of the most anime-crazy areas in Japan.
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