July 25, 2013 – Japan Mint celebrates the Cherry Blossom event with a series of legal tender coin sets and medals in gold, silver and red brass. A cloisonné medallion features the Kanda Festival which takes place at the same time.
This set is comprised of six Japanese legal tender coins in proof condition (a 500 yen nickel-brass proof coin, a 100 yen cupronickel proof coin, a 50 yen cupronickel proof coin, a 10 yen bronze proof coin, a 5 yen brass proof coin and a 1 yen aluminum proof coin), a color sterling silver (Ag 92.5%) medal, a Certificate of Authenticity (English/Japanese), a leather display case, a paper slipcase.
The obverse of this silver medal shows the Amanogawa (“Milky Way”), the Blossom of the Year, printed in color, while the reverse depicts Orihime (the Weaver Princess) and Hikoboshi (the Cowherd), the lovers in the Tanabata legend, reaching out to each other across the Milky Way. Latent image technology is used for the Milky Way and the frosting finish (nashiji) processing technique for Orihime and Hikoboshi.
The obverse of the cover case is illustrated with Amanogawa cherry blossom, and the reverse and the leather case with Orihime and Hikoboshi reaching out to each other across the Milky Way. The obverse of the coin holder shows Amanogawa cherry blossom, and the reverse the constellations of Lyra and Aquila, which straddle the Milky Way.
Cherry Bloosom Medal Gold / 40mm / ca. 95g / Mintage: 150.
On the obverse Orihime (the Weaver Princess) and Hikoboshi (the Cowherd), the
lovers in the Tanabata legend, cross the bridge over the Milky Way, which is formed by a flock of magpies (kasasagi-no-hashi), to meet each other (Depicted with the iridescent color shining technology and the frosting finish (nashiji) processing technique).
The reverse shows the blossom of the year “Amanogawa” (“Milky Way”). The medals are available in gold, silver and red brass.
Cloisonné Silver Medallion ‘Kanda Festival’ / silver / 60mm / ca. 160g / Mintage: 500.
The obverse features the Ichinomiya Horen, one of the phoenix-decorated mikoshi, leaving the Zuishinmon Gate of Kanda Jinja Shrine to set out on procession, which is depicted skillfully in seven colors using a sophisticated cloisonné technique.
The design of the reverse features characters spelling out “Kanda Matsuri,” the Nagare-mitsudomoe crest of Kanda Jinja Shrine, and depicts a scene of mikoshi entering the shrine precincts.
This cloisonné medallion has been designed and manufactured featuring motifs from the Kanda Festival, one of Japan’s three major festivals, which boasts a long history and tradition.
The main festival of the Kanda Festival is a ritual held at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo, which is celebrated in mid-May every other year. The festival came under the auspices of the Tokugawa shogunate in the early Edo period (1603-1868), incorporating a ritual procession with mikoshi portable shrines through the grounds of Edo Castle, and was watched by the Shogun and his wife and concubines as well as other notables. For this reason, it became known as the “Tenka Festival,” meaning a festival held in the presence of the Shogun, generally called “Tenka-bito” (the ruler of the world).
The festive mood is enhanced by several different events, including the Jinkosai, in which three horen mikoshi portable shrines decorated with phoenixes parade around the area, the Mikoshi Miyairi, when numerous gaily decorated mikoshi enter the shrine precincts, and the Reitaisai, the most important religious ritual.
For more information about these new issues please visit the Japan Mint website.
You can watch a documentary about the Kanda Festival here.
A Cherry Blossom map with more information on this extremely popular event is available here.