Takayama Matsuri Autumn Festival
The gaze of the spectators becomes riveted on the gorgeous motifs of the yatai floats.
The Takayama Festival, which is cited as one of the three most beautiful festivals of Japan, consists of two festivals: the Spring Takayama Festival or Sanno Matsuri at Hie Shrine, and the Autumn Takayama Festival or Hachiman Matsuri at Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine.
The Autumn Hachiman Matsuri, which is held annually on October 9th and 10th prompts the local inhabitants to start their winter preparations. The greatest attractions are the eleven yatai floats which are designated as significant intangible folk cultural assets. *Their splendid motifs produced by the skills of the master artisans called Hida no Takumi are so gorgeous that they are often described as 'mobile Yomeimon' in association with the renowned Yomeimon Gate of Nikko Tosho Shrine.
The crowds of spectators coming from distant places are fascinated by the festival procession, which is almost like a narrative picture scroll. The dexterous movements of the wind-up marionettes, which move with a thread or a spring, performing on top of the yatai floats are especially interesting.
The yatai floats are lined up before dusk, and once the town becomes veiled in the evening darkness, as many as 100 chochin lanterns are lit on each of the floats. The unique ornaments of the yatai floats look even more resplendent in the darkness of the night.
*A significant intangible folk cultural asset refers to manners and customs related to food, clothing and shelter, vocation, faith, annual events, and folkloric performing arts, etc., which have been established by the people in daily life and passed down through generations, deemed especially valuable by the State.
From Nagoya:[Rail]About 15 minutes' walk from JR Takayama Station. JR Takayama Station is 2 hours, 23 minutes from JR Nagoya Station on the Limited Express.
Place: Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine
Dates: October 9th and 10th
City: 178, Sakura-machi, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture