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Japan – Autumn Festivals

Autumn Festivals in Japan

The blaze of summer heat will soon be replaced by the warmth of autumn colors. For some of us, the most beautiful season in Japan will soon be upon us, and a fine way to celebrate is to enjoy the fall matsuri (festivals) which pop up in all their glory during the entire fall.

Takayama Akimatsuri

Takayama Akimatsuri

Takayama Akimatsuri , (Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture)
Oct. 9-10, 2015

This festival, considered by many to be one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan, takes place every year on October 9th and 10th. Eleven huge tiered floats, all designated significant intangible folk cultural assets, are constructed and ornamented with intricate metalwork, gilded wood, lacquer, etc. Additionally, the insides are topped with large wooden marionettes, which are conducted in performances on top of the floats. These beautiful figures are also highly decorated with fabrics such as brocade, embroidered cloth, silk and the like. These floats also take part in a night procession, and each one is adorned with up to 100 lanterns. Despite their grand size, they seem to float gently in the pools of lantern light as they regally make their way through the city on wheeled carts.

For more information, please visit here.

Kyoto and the Kyoto Tourism Bureau

Kyoto and the Kyoto Tourism Council

Kyoto Jidai Matsuri , (Kyoto Prefecture)

Oct. 22, 2015

Held every year on October 22, this Festival of the Ages is a fantastic way to see history reenacted by actors in period clothing representing famous and common figures, portable shrines, horse-drawn carriages, etc., representing each era of Kyoto’s 1,200 year history and adorned with decorations of each particular era. Costumes and ornaments are painstakingly hand-crafted by Kyoto’s traditional artisans. The festival begins at the Old Imperial Palace and ends at the Heian Jingu Shrine. This is a beautiful glimpse of old Kyoto history in all its glory. It’s almost like visiting a museum!

For more information, please visit here.

Nikko Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival

Nikko Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival

Nikko Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival , (Tochigi Prefecture)
Oct. 16 & 17, 2015

 

This is the autumn festival of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine(there is also a spring festival held annually). The festival is part of a large UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes other shrines and temples in Nikko, and it is thought to represent the funeral ceremony of Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose remains are interred at the shrine, and who was the first shogun of the Edo era. You can see a grand procession of about eight hundred people all dressed in 17th century period clothing as warriors, samurai and the like. Watching this magnificent, slightly imposing reenactment temporarily transports one back four centuries in the blink of an eye! There is also a “yabusame” performance (archers performing their skills on horseback) which, though an ancient Japanese traditional contest, is now gaining popularity overseas as well.

For more information, please visit here.

Kurama Fire Festival , (Kyoto Prefecture)

Kurama Fire Festival , (Kyoto Prefecture)

Kurama Fire Festival , (Kyoto Prefecture)

Oct. 22, 2015

Held at the same time as the Jidai Matsuri, this is a more intimate, local festival, and should definitely be experienced if you are in Kyoto. The Fire Festival is a traditional village festival in the rural city of Kurama which is nestled in the northern mountains of Kyoto. It is held at the Yuki-Jinja, a shrine that is located on the way to the Kurama-dera temple located along the mountainside and hovering over the town. At nightfall, children holding small pine torches parade through the town and are followed by adults holding immense torches also made of pine weighing over 175 pounds which they also parade through the town streets.

Afterwards, two portable shrines are carried through the streets for a rousing climax to the festival. Earlier in the evening, watch fires are lit simultaneously in front of many homes so the whole town comes softly aglow before the raucous parade begins.

The festival is said to reenact the scene of the enshrined deity at Yuki-Jinja being greeted after traveling from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kurama.

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Japan – Autumn Festivals. (2015, May 23). In ClassBrain Country Reports. Retrieved 09:49, October 24, 2017, from http://www.classbraincountryreports.com/japan-autumn-festivals/
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AMA style
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