Exciting Autumn Festivals in Japan!
There are many traditional festivals, which are for praying for a good harvest of crops and dedicating offerings to the gods, since ancient times all over Japan. We will introduce you to exciting festivals with dynamic dashi floats and dancing, which will make you feel excited even when you are just watching.
Easy access from Tokyo. Enjoy the atmosphere of Edo.
1. Kawagoe-matsuri Festival (Dashi event at Kawagoe Hikawa-matsuri Festival)Oct. 19 & 20, 2019
Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture
With a tradition for more than 370 years as an annual festival of Hikawa-jinja Shrine, this festival has wonderful dashi floats which have been influenced by the Tenka-matsuri Festival in the Edo period. Dashi floats are pulled around one after another through the streets with kura storehouses in Kawagoe, aka “Little Edo,” creating a splendid sight. Don’t forget to look at the elaborate dolls on the floats, as they are precious cultural properties which have been handed down since the mid-19th century. It takes only 30 minutes by train from Ikebukuro Station! Visit Kawagoe to witness the infectious enthusiasm which takes place once a year!
Nearest stations: Kawagoe Sta. on the JR and Tobu lines, Hon-Kawagoe Sta. on the Seibu Line
One of the most stirring and dynamic festivals in Japan
2. Kawagoe-matsuri FestivalSept. 14 & 15, Oct. 12 & 13, 2019
Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture
This powerful festival features huge floats, called danjiri, which are pulled by many people to run through the town. You can see daikugata on the roof of danjiri, who are dancing rhythmically. A performance of danjiri, called “yarimawashi,” in which the carriers are turning 90 degrees on a corner while running, is quite a sight to see. It is said that about half a million people visit Kishiwada to watch the energetic danjiri running from all over Japan during the festival. It also has convenient access, taking about 50 minutes by train from Osaka Station.
Nearest station: Kishiwada Sta. on the Nankai Line
An island called the “epitome of Japanese performing art”
3. Ondeko in SadoFor detailed schedule, please visit the website:
Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
If you are interested in learning more about folk performing art in Japan, you should visit Sado Island. It was a penal colony in ancient times, and after the 16th century, it became a place for mining of gold, silver, and copper, as well as an anchorage site for cargo ships, which also brought various kinds of culture from all over Japan. Among others, “Ondeko” (demon drum dance) has been handed down for generations at various places in the island. It is scary yet mesmerizing how dancers with oni demon masks are dancing around while beating taiko drums!
Access: Take a ferry from Niigata Port (Niigata City) or Naoetsu Port (Joetsu City)
*The information herein is as of July 2019.