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In Japan, festival provides a sense of life in a dying town

Many residents of Niyodogawa, Japan, describe the annual Akiba Matsuri festival in February as the highlight of the year. But in a town that, like many in rural Japan, has been doomed by its demographics, the festival increasingly resembles a wake.



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As a central tradition of the Akiba Matsuri festival, a dozen or so men lug a mikoshi, or portable shrine, up a mountain. Some nearly collapse with exhaustion.

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In rural Japan, a modest bid to preserve tradition
Article | NIYODOGAWA, Japan - Last weekend this dying town held a party, so its few remaining residents awoke at sunrise, headed up winding mountain roads and convened at the usual spot, where, for 217 years, they and their ancestors have gathered annually to celebrate their gods and assault their livers.

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