Iwatsuta Jinja Matsuri

Iwatsuta Shrine Fire Festival 14 December Iwatsuta Jinja, Ishizugawa, Osaka 108 wooden bundles are set alight and young men run through the flames in a purification ceremony in Ishizugawa, Osaka. 8pm start. This fire festival is based on a local legend in which fishermen were said to have warmed the god Ebis (sea god), who…

三宝寺 Daikon Sanpoji Matsuri

Daikon festival at Sanpoji Temple in Kyoto. Daikon radish becomes available in late autumn and is associated with the seasonal cuisine of winter. The radish festival takes place annually in December, usually on 9th & 10th December, when boiled radish is served to about 10,000 people over the two days. Boiled daikon are prepared and…

おしろい祭り Oshiroi Matsuri

Oyamazumi Shrine, Haki, Asakura-shi, Fukuoka December 02, 2017 On the day of the Oshiroi Matsuri (Face Paint Festival), newly harvested rice is ground into powder and made into white face paint, which is then smeared on the faces of worshippers in an attempt to foretell whether they will have a bountiful or lean harvest. These…

Hadakambo Matsuri

Hofu Tenman-gu Shrine, Yamaguchi Prefecture, 23rd November Hadakambo means “naked person”, and this event is commonly referred to as one of numerous naked festivals. Rest assured though, the participants are dressed. Mostly. During this event, groups of men wearing only traditional loincloths carry large floats through the streets of Hofu all the way to Hofu Tenman-gu…

Taketa Chikuraku Matsuri たけた竹楽

Taketa Chikuraku is an illumination event that started in 2000 in Taketa City, where over half the city is covered by forested land, with a good portion of it being varieties of bamboo. Bamboo was once a valuable material, however, with dropping demand of bamboo today, the bamboo woods became more and more ruined. The city…

Momiji Matsuri Arashiyama

The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles and Kyoto’s elite would visit to enjoy its natural setting. A favourite pastime of the nobles was appreciating and enjoying the red maple leaves of the area which is called momiji (紅葉) in Japanese. The Arashiyama Momiji Festival celebrates this ancient…

おはら祭 Ohara Matsuri

Over 20,000 dancers stretched over hundreds of meters parade through the city streets cheerfully. Ohara Festival is Southern Kyushu’s largest festival where anyone is allowed to join in. It is truly incredible to see 20,000 fill up the streets during “So-odori,” all dancing together to Kagoshima’s traditional folk songs such as the “Ohara-bushi,” “Kagoshima Hanya-bushi”…

Warai Festival, Niu-Jinja Shrine, Wakayama

Niu Shrine in the Hidaka district of Wakayama hosts every year the Warai, or laughing, festival. The festival itself is considered a Prefectural Cultural Heritage asset and can be traced back several centuries. The festival is based on the legend of Niutsuhime-No-Kimoto goddess. According to it, the goddess overslept and arrived late to a gathering…

長崎くんちNagasaki Kunchi

Kunchi (くんち), also  or Nagasaki Okunchi (長崎おくんち), is the most famous festival in Nagasaki, Japan. It began as a celebration of autumn harvests in the late 16th century and became a shrine festival when Suwa Shrine was founded in 1642. Another purpose was to check for hidden Christians after the ban on Christianity. This is…

二本松市 Nihonmatsu Chochin Festival

The Nihon-matsu Chochin (Lantern) Festival in Nihon-matsu, Fukushima is the most important festival held at Nihon-matsu Shrine and is said to have started approximately 360 years ago. It is held every year from October 4th to the 6th. Seven Taiko drum floats are released from seven towns, loaded with approximately 300 lighted paper lanterns each,…

ずいき祭 Zuiki Matsuri Festival

Autumn harvest festival with unique Mikoshi decorated with vegetables Established in 947, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine enshrines Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, litterateur and politician in the beginning of Heian Era (lived from 845 to 903). It is the headquarter of more than 12,000 Tenmangu, shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane’s spirit, all over Japan and…

Hachiman Matsuri at Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine.

The Autumn Hachiman Matsuri, which is held annually on October 9th and 10th prompts the local inhabitants to start their winter preparations. The greatest attractions are the eleven yatai floats which are designated as significant intangible folk cultural assets. *Their splendid motifs produced by the skills of the master artisans called Hida no Takumi are…