07 February 2011

Takayama Matsuri Spring Festival in Japan

One of the popular festivals in Japan is Takayama Matsuri festival. Takayama Matsuri festival in Japan is considered as one of the three most colorful festivals of Japan. The two opulent festivals known as Spring Takayama Festival or Sanno Matsuri at Hie Shrine and Autumn Takayama Festival or Hachiman Matsuri at Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine take place every year at Takayama.

The Autumn Hachiman Matsuri takes place on 9th and 10th October symbolizing the onset of winter. The local people get ready for the arrival of the winter season. The festivals are a huge draw for tourists for both domestic as well as international tourists. The neighboring towns of Furukawa and Gero Onsen are ideal bases for indulging in the celebrations.

Features:
  • On both the autumn and spring festivals, the festival floats make for a colorful display on the streets of Takayama. During inclement weather, the floats are kept in the storehouses open for public viewing. The eleven yatai floats bear a cultural significance. The cultural assets which have been passed down generations represent manners, customs vocation, faith, annual events and folklore. The magnificent designs are a handiwork of skilled artisans known as Hida no Takumi. The splendid designs are often called 'mobile Yomeimon' in association with the famous Yomeimon Gate of Nikko Tosho Shrine.
  • The people-tide of crowds from far and wide finds the festival procession mesmerizing.
  • The floats are adorned in karakuri ningyo or meticulously designed puppets. The skilful movements of the puppets acting atop the Vatai floats are fascinating. The puppet shows take place on both autumn and spring festivals at a specified time. The performances are held in storehouses during bad weather.
  • A shrine (Mikoshi) is taken around the town in a procession on the two days of the festival. The Mikoshi comprises of the shrine's kami(Shinto deity). The deity is taken across the town only on these festive occasions.
  • - The Vatai floats are aligned before twilight. With the fall of darkness, as many as 100 chociin lamps illuminate every float. The vatai floats look brighter against the shadow of darkness. The evening festival (Vomatsuri) is the main attraction of the festival. It is called off during bad weather.
Season of Takayama Matsuri Festival in Japan: 
The festival takes place twice every year in April and October. The Spring Festival also known as Sanno festival takes place every year on April 14-15 at the Hie Shrine in the southern half of Takayama's old town. The Autumn Festival also called the Hachiman festival takes place on October 9-10 at the Hachiman Shrine in the northern half of the old town.
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