If you’ve visited Matsue in October, you more than likely will have come across various groups pounding on large taiko drums every night between 7pm and 9pm. These drums are called do drums (pronounced dough)
This is not a festival every night, rather practice for a centuries old tradition, that now takes place annually on the third Sunday of October. Originally, this drumming was incorporated into new years celebrations, and was later adopted as an autumn festival following its use in 1724, to welcome the imperial princess Iwahime to marry the 5th Matsudaira Lord, who came from Kyoto to Matsue.
There is one more week of practice until the festival culminates, in hundreds of participants in colourful ‘happi’ clothing taking part by playing the flute or drumming the do-drums. As the practice takes part after dark, it is quite a different atmosphere to playing the drums during the day of the festival, which happens in the afternoon.
Here are some pictures of practice: