Last weekend went to the second Annual Hemp Festival up in the mountains near Chizu, Tottori. The festival was organized by a small, local hemp farm to showcase the second most important plant in ancient Japan.
The day was kicked off by a purification ceremony by a Yamabushi from Mount Fuji.
There were lots of stalls selling clothing made from hemp, probably its most important use in ancient Japan. There were also demonstrations of extracting oil from hemp seeds and a small loom where visitors could try their hand at weaving with hemp.
The folks from the Hemp Car Project arrived in a bus powered by hemp oil. There were about three hundred people there, mostly younger people who have moved into the rural areas of Japan and practice a more sustainable lifestyle. There were lots of young children. The Mayor of Chizu gave a speech and suggested that he may be naming Chizu "Hemp Town" in the future. I met an old guy from Hiroshima who told me about a Shinto Sect shrine in central Hiroshima that has links with hemp. In return I was able to tell him about the Hemp Mountain and Hemp Shrine near our home.
There were stall selling other hemp products, and several example of traditional hemp products including some bell ropes from Kyoto and a Gohei, a purification wand used by Shinto priests. Throughout the day musicians performed.
As at any other festival in Japan there were plenty of food stalls including some vegan offerings. I settled for a Wild Boar Burger even though I have been eating a lot of boar this week. 600 yen a pop for a hemp beer from Germany was a bit too pricey for me but the brand name is kind of clever.
The main event of the day was the making of hemp fiber, and that I post next.....