Nada no Kenka Matsuri
Portable shrines fiercely jolted against one another produce breathtaking scenes befitting a 'Fighting Festival'
Nada no Kenka Matsuri is the popular name for a festival held at the Matsubara Hachiman Shrine in the town of Shirahama, Himeji City. It came to be called by this name, Kenka Matsuri or 'Fighting Festival' because the mikoshi (portable shrines) are jolted against one another when carried on the shoulders of the men in the parade.
There are no detailed rules or opponents for the vehement collisions of the portable shrines. As soon as the portable shrines are set properly on the men's shoulders and everyone is ready, they are knocked against one another at random, and the moment a portable shrine is hoisted on top of another, the contest is over. The greatest attraction is the struggle among 3 portable shrines when men over 35 wearing white headbands, those of 26-35 with yellow headbands and youths under 26 marked by red headbands, holding bamboo poles in their hands, join in the fight. A vehement struggle unfolds but this is in no way a fight between the men. This festival, which is the largest of the numerous fighting festivals held nationwide, is not only famous in Japan but is also becoming widely known overseas.
The highlight of this festival is Yatai-neri, the parade of "yatai", festival floats, gorgeously decorated with wood carving, gold and silver handiwork and embroidered curtains. The yatai are carried on the shoulders of men and are surrounded by the men holding "shide" (bamboo poles decorated with colorful paper) in their hand. As dusk sets in, illuminations on each of the yatai are lit.
[Rail]About 3 minutes' walk from Shirahama-no-miya Station. Shirahama-no-miya Station is about 10 minutes from Sanyo Himeji Station on the Sanyo Dentetsu Honsen Line.
Place: Matsubara Hachiman Shrine
Dates: October 14th and 15th
City: 399, Shirahama-cho Ko, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture