Kansai Scene Magazine
 

 

Hiina Matsuri (Girl’s Day Festival)

Mar 3

ICHIHIME-JINJA SHRINE & HITOMACHI KORYUKAN, KYOTO

The girl’s day festival, held on the 3rd of March each year, is the day when families pray for the happiness of their young daughters. The festival is also thought to drive away evil spirits from the girls. Many families across Japan put out a display of dolls call hina ningyo as part of the celebration of this day. Ichihime-jinja shrine also cele­brates the girl’s day festival. ‘Living dolls’ will be performing tradi­tional music and dance on a special stage. There will be a demon­stration of how to put on a kimono.

You’ll be able to get your photo taken in a traditional hina-ningyo costume, and experience games that are seen rarely in Japannow- adays. Also Japanese tea, sweets and lucky charms will be served.

• Time: 1pm–4pm • Admission:¥1,000 (tea, a sweet and a lucky charm included) • Access: JR Kyoto stn bus to Kawaramachi Shomen/Keihan Railway Gojo stn, 5 min walk • Tel: 075-367-2775

Sagicho Matsuri Festival

Mar 12 & 13

Himure Hachimangu Shrine, Shiga

Provided by Biwako Visitors Bureau

This is one of the biggest festivals in Shiga, and attracts 70,000 vis­itors every year. It is said that the powerful shogun, Nobunaga Oda loved this festival in the 16th century. The festival floats, called Sagicho, are made of bamboo and sheaves of straw colourfully decorated with red and white paper. Each float has a large orna­-ment in the shape of the animal sign of the Oriental zodiac for the year. Surprisingly, the ornament is made of foodstuffs. On the 12th, thirteen floats will parade around the town. On the 13th, there will be the performance of the floats bumping into each other in imi­tation fighting. At the climax of the festival, the floats will be set on fire, and local men will dance wildly around the flames.

• Time: 1pm–5:30pm on 12th, 10:30am–10:40pm on 13th • Admission: free • Access: JR Biwako line Omihachiman stn bus to Obatacho Shiryokan-mae • Tel: 0748-32-7003

Kansai Festival Listings

Shunie, Omizutori, Nara

Mar 1–14
“The winter cold does not last after Omizutori” as the saying goes and this ritual is called a herald of spring. Otaimatsu is the main event with a breathtaking spec­tacle of monks carrying blazing torches across the bal­cony of the temple hall.

• Time: 7pm on 1st to 11th and 13th, 7:30pm on 12th, 6:30pm on 14th • Admission: free • Where: Nigatsudo in Todaiji Temple, Nara • Access: JR/Kintetsu Railway Nara stn bus to Daibutsuden Kasugataisha-mae • Tel: 0742-22-5511

Hina Nagashi, Wakayama

Mar 3
A large number of women visit this festival to say a fare­well to their hina dolls (a set of dolls displayed for Girls’ Day), which carry special memory of their childhood. Thousands of origami cranes are scattered into the sea, and then boats taking on the dolls follow on.

• Time: At Noon • Admission: free • Where: Awashima-jinja Shrine, Wakayama • Access: Nankai Railway Kata stn; 15 min walk • Tel: 073-459-0043

Seiryue Dragon Dance, Kyoto

Mar 15–17
Once upon a time, a dragon that was the incarnation of Kannon (the God of Mercy) flew to the waterfall in this temple and drank the sacred water. There will be a power­ful dragon dance associated with this myth.

• Time: 2pm • Admission:¥300 • Where: Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto • Access: JR Kyoto stn bus to Gojozaka; 10 min walk • Tel: 075-551-1234

Kashiku Matsuri Festival, Osaka

Mar 18
Hoseiji Temple houses the grave of a lady, Kashiku who was executed for murdering her brother. Being hideously drunk at the time of the murder, she swore that she would transform into a goddess of abstinence. On this day a memorial service for her will be held, and Japanese traditional performing arts will be offered.

• Time: Noon–3pm • Admission: free • Where: Hoseiji Temple, Osaka • Access: Subway Tanimachi line Higashi Umeda stn/JR Tozai line Kitashinchi stn, 6 min walk • Tel: 06-6364-8967

Bushinsai, Hyogo

Mar 26
According to the legend passed down in this shrine, five ogres fought off enemies from overseas a long time ago. Bushinsai is held annually to commemorate the legend. The hallmark of this festival is a unique ogre dance.

• Time: 11:30am (Mar 27 in case of rain) • Admission: free • Where: Usuki Hachiman-jinja Shrine, Hyogo • Access: JR Kobe line Aboshi stn; 20 min walk • Tel: 079-272-0664

Hanezu Dance, Kyoto

Mar 27
This festival features a dance by young girls dressed in pale pink. The temple is well known for its association with Ono no Komachi who was a great beauty in ancient history and the dance depicts her love story.

• Time: 11 am • Admission:¥1,000 (entry to the plum garden included) • Where: Zuishinin, Kyoto • Access: Subway Tozai line Ono stn • Tel: 075-571-0025

 

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