Kansai Scene Magazine


Iwashimizu Sai Festival

Sep 15

Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, Kyoto

This is one of three festivals held by imperial ordinance in Japan. In this festival ceremonies are conducted in accordance with ancient tradition. You will witness a beautiful historic pageant in which a miniature shrine, floats, sacred treasures and children in sacred attire pass in procession. It depicts the gods of this shrine descent to the subsidiary shrine. Following the path by the light of paper lanterns, the procession marches gracefully in the early morning before dawn. It is an extremely moving event. After rituals of dedication, the procession will walk back to the main shrine in the evening. Interestingly, the shrine has a monument to Thomas Edison commemorating his use of bamboo from the area in his development of the light bulb.

• Time: 3am–6:30pm • Admission: free • Access: Keihan Railway Yahatashi • Tel: 075-981-3001

Hono Exhibition Sumo

Sep 20

Hinade-jinja Shrine, Shiga

This festival dates back about 800 years, to a time when villagers offered sumo wrestling to entertain the retired emperor Gotoba Joko who visited the village incognito. In this religious event, sumo bouts will be fought out by amateur wrestlers from the top three divisions. Following this, there will be matches by local children, and the sumo odori dance will be performed during the intervals. About twenty wrestlers wearing ceremonial aprons will enter the ring and dance to the song called sumojinku, which has distinctive rhythm and melody. These magnificent ceremonial aprons are gifts bestowed by the lord of this region in the Edo period.

• Time: 1pm • Admission: free • Access: JR Sakata; 10min by bicycle • Tel: 0749-52-1792

Kansai Festival Listings

Miwasaki Hachiman Reitaisai Festival

Sep 18 & 19
The kujira odori (whale dance) has been passed down for centuries in this town, which used to be engaged in whaling. On the 19th, the dance is offered to please the god of Miwahachiman-jinja. There will also be lion dances and other performing arts.

• Time: 9am • Admission: free • Where: Miwasaki Hachiman-jinja Shrine, Wakayama • Access: JR Miwasaki • Tel: 0735-23-3333

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Sep 18 and 19
This is wonderfully exciting in which richly decorated Danjiri floats run through the town at high speed, like motor racers. When it is dusk, the floats will be illuminated with paper lanterns and the atmosphere will changes completely to become calm and romantic.

• Time: 6am–10pm (on 18th), 9am–10pm (on 19th) • Admission: free • Where: around Kishiwada and Haruki, Osaka • Access: Nankai Railway Kishiwada • Tel: 072-436-0914

Nishinomiya Matsuri Festival

Sep 21–23
This festival is one of the most important religious events in the calendar of Nishinomiya-jinja. Many important ceremonies will be conducted at the festival. A wide variety of shows will be performed on the 21st. A procession of children in celestial costumes will march through the town on the 22nd. There will be spectacular processions of miniature shrines and boats on the 23rd.

• Time: 5pm on 21st, 10am on 22nd, 9am on 23rd • Admission: free • Where: Nishinomiya-jinja Shrine, Hyogo • Access: Hanshin Railway Nishinomiya • Tel: 0798- 33-0321

Kangetsu Sai Festival

Sep 22
This is a celebration to admire the moon when it is at the fullest and brightest in the year. The shrine will be illuminated with thousands of candles. And an open-air tea ceremony, ancient court music and dance and a Japanese poem competition will be held in this exotic atmosphere.

• Time: 6:30pm • Admission: free • Where: Oomiwa-jinja Shrine, Nara • Access: JR Miwa • Tel: 0744-42-6633

Seimei Sai Festival

Sep 23
This shrine houses the deity Abe no Seimei, who was a professional practitioner of cosmology in 10th century Japan. His heroic acts are still featured in films and comic books today. The main festival of this shrine will be held in grand style. A fife and drum corps, miniature shrine, floats and many others — 500 people in total will parade around the town.

• Time: 10am • Admission: free • Where: Seimei-jinja Shrine, Kyoto • Access: JR Kyoto bus to Ichijo Modoribashi • Tel: 075-441-6460

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