"Sougetsusai roughly translated as November Festival is held once a year in Gose City. I was invited to attend two years ago by a dear Japanese friend, but eventually didn't make it. This time around not even the rain can stop me from going to this festival.
There are so many events going around town in celebration of Sougetsusai. However, the main attraction of this festival are owners of traditional Japanese houses, opening their doors to welcome strangers to take a peek of their lovely homes.
It was great that some of these houses retained its original design, and some even more fascinating, that materials from the time it was built ages ago still remain. Quite noticeably, that the opulence of these traditional old houses lie in the subtle beauty of its architecture and minimalist design. Of course the lovely gardens are the best accents of most houses we have visited.
These houses are not only preserved structures for history's sake but are also current residence of its owners. The trusting nature of the Japanese people is clearly on display on this festival. Imagine allowing hundreds of visitors to take a peek, stroll around your house with so many valuables and ornaments neatly on display unprotected.
You can enter most houses free of charge. But on one house we paid 100 yen, to which they served us a really nice cup of hot tea and red bean cake, a traditional Japanese snacks, so its actually a very cheap fee to experience dining in this lovely house.
Also a lot of Gose artists take this opportunity, opening their houses or shops to display their works.
There are also a lot of yattai (food kiosks) scattered around the area selling very cheap festival food. I'm used to paying minimum of 500 yen for food in other Japanese festivals, but here I paid 150 yen for a large tonkatsu and 150 for a hotdog. So I asked my host why is it so cheap. She told me the participants are not doing it for profit but its really more to celebrate their community.
Coinciding with this festival is also a celebration by Sangaku Shukyo, a religion that traced its roots in Gose. On this day they celebrate their faithfuls, called a Yamabushi by parading in the streets of Gose, wearing a white cloth and blowing horns. There is also a culminating event in the evening that involves fire, but that would be for another entry.