Another festival season and summer is coming to an end. The dragonflies are out and the days are getting shorter, which means fall will soon be upon us.

But before the fireworks fizzle away and the festival food stalls have packed up for good this year, one area in Japan decided to go out with a bang and surprise festival-goers with superb portable shrine, or mikoshi, recreations of some of Japan’s most popular characters, including one famous red mobile suit from the anime classic Gundam.

Earlier this month Shiobara Onsen, a local hot springs resort located in Tochigi Prefecture, held its annual September festival honoring the ascension of Emperor Taisho to the throne in 1912.

As part of the festival’s tradition, each of the six districts in the area offer up their own decorated portable shrine to be carried through the streets.

One of the floats that especially stood out this year was this red Zaku, originally piloted by Char Aznable in the Mobile Suit Gundam anime series.


▼ Even its eyes light up! Check out that antenna detailing, too.


▼ The paint job on this thing was also top-notch!shiobaraonsenzaku4

After photos of the festival started circulating online, it wasn’t long before Zaku became the fan favorite among Japanese netizens.

“What?! Is this a red Zaku portable shrine?!”

“Three times faster than a regular portable shrine!!”

“I looked for someone resembling Char in the group of people carrying it, but unfortunately I couldn’t find one and it was just regular speed lol”

“My brother showed me pictures! Our local hometown’s floats were amazing! Zaku!! Just wow!!!”

Gundam fans weren’t the only ones with something to get excited about. The festival also included floats featuring Hello Kitty and Bob the Minion.



I think it’s safe to say these original portable shrines at the Shiobara Onsen Festival definitely put my little rural town to shame. I can online imagine how cool they were to see in real life!

Hopefully next year the area will bring even more of our favorite characters to life.