Yasurai Matsuri: Town Elders' Prayers Embodied in Flowers and Dance

Red and black demons beating drums and gongs dance through the streets of Kyoto's north in the Yasurai Matsuri, one of the city's 3 most curious festivals. In days of old, pestilence ran rampant every year when the cherry blossoms fell. Locals believed the 2 were linked, so with lively dances they lured deities of plagues under a bright umbrella to return them to the shrine for the year. Discover local beliefs through the lens of a festival that continues in this age of advanced medicine.