Marchers gather at the Ise Shrine, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu of the Shinto religion to kick off this St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Mie Prefecture of Japan. When the parade begins, the flags of Japan and Ireland fly side-by-side, and Japanese residents do jigs, play bagpipes and dress up like leprechauns and St. Patrick to entertain the children. Over 500 marchers, including the Irish ambassador to Japan and the town’s mayor take part. Afterward participants shuck and bake shellfish at an oyster festival that celebrates local commerce.
The parade is co-organized by the Irish Network of Japan, which plans events in Tokyo, Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan to promote a cultural exchange between the two countries.
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