Twice a Year, Twice the Fun at the Takayama Festival 2013
Takayama Festival 2013 高山祭 (Takayama Matsuri)
When: April 14 to 15 and October 9 to 10 2013
Where: Takayama, Japan
History: The origin of the Takayama Festival is unknown. However, the festival is believed to have started during the reign of the Kanamori family.
About the Festival: One of the striking celebrations held twice a year in Japan is the Takyama Festival 2013. It is held on the 14th and 15th day of April for the Spring Festival and on the 9th and 10th of October for the Autumn Festival. It draws hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. The first festival held in spring is the Sanno Matsuri, known as the festival of the Hie Shrine. On the other hand, the festival in autumn is the Hachiman Matsuri. It is known as the yearly festival of the Hachiman Shrine. Both of these festivals have similar attractions and events. They both center on the beautifully decorated floats which are stored in storehouses that are scatter around the old town of Takayama.
One thing you should not miss about the Takyama Festival is the display of the impressive and attractive festival floats which are pulled in a procession around town. The floats are also exhibited on both days of the festivals for tourists to take a good look at.
Another part of the celebration is the Mikoshi procession. It is highlighted by the parade of the moveable shrine mikoshi. Mikoshi encloses the deity Shinto and the festival is the only time it is carried around time. You can also see a number of floats decorated with karakuri ningyo or mechanical dolls. These dolls are designed to move and dance on both days of the festival. The festival showcases the traditional technique of artisans in making these dolls. The festivities carry on in the evening where you can witness the floats being lighted and paraded through the streets.
Travel Tips: When visiting for the Takyama Festival , do not fail to buy some handmade amulets known as Sarubobo. They are the most popular souvenir from the village. Other famous crafts include Shunkei Lacquerware, wood block prints, and Hida Sashiko or handmade stitching tools. Takayama is also famous for its ramen noodles. You should try the hoba miso, a dish made of thin noodles and miso stock grilled on hoba leaf. Although it may sound simple, it has an exquisite taste.
Final thoughts: This Festival will make you fill like you have slipped back to the 15th century due to the music performance and costumes, as well as the traditional townscape of the village of Takayama. The whole place will make you feel relaxed and calm when you go out for a night. This is a celebration worthy of checking out during the spring and autumn.