When: Spring Festival: 14th April 2017
Autumn Festival: 15th April 2017
Where: Takayama, Japan
The Takayama Festival is one of the striking festivals of Japan, held twice a year in spring and autumn in the city of Takayama. The festival draws a large number of people from Japan and the world over. The Spring Festival, also known as Sanno Matsuri, is the festival of the Hie Shrine, and the Autumn Festival, also known as Hachiman Matsuri is the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine. Both the festivals have similar events and attractions. The Takayama Festival centres around the set of majestically decorated festival floats, known as ‘yatai’, which are stored in storehouses scattered across Takayama’s old town, during the year.
Takayama Festival Celebrations
The key highlight of the Takayama Festival is the display of the festival floats. Decorative and dazzling ‘yatai’ are pulled in a festival procession on the streets of Takayama, which exhibit the festival floats on both the days of the festival, for the onlookers to see.
The Mikoshi procession is another part of the celebrations of the Takayama Festival in which a moveable shrine ‘mikoshi’ is carried around the town in a parade. The mikoshi encloses the Shinto deity, and this festival is the only time of the year when the idol is carried around town.
A number of festival floats are decorated with elegant mechanical dolls known as ‘karakuri ningyo’, which are devised to move and dance. Their dance performances are held on both the days of the festival at specific time and place. One can see the amazing traditional technique of artisans that goes into making these dolls. The festivities continue during the night while illuminated festival floats parade through the streets.
Getting to Takayama
Takayama can be easily reached through air or by train. One can take a flight from Tokyo to Haneda Airport and thereafter take the train from Toyama to Takayama. The time taken is over three hours.
You can also board the Shinkansen super- express train from Tokyo, which takes nearly 2hours and 30 minutes via Nagoya to reach Takayama.