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Yayoi Festival


A parade of beautiful floats respecting ancient traditions at a shrine registered as a World Heritage Site.

This festival signals the arrival of spring at Nikko, which has temples and shrines registered as World Heritage sites. The main attraction takes place on the 17th: a parade of 11 beautifully adorned floats called hana-yatai from each town. This is a traditional festival dating back as far as the 8th Century. Even today ancient customs are faithfully observed and the ritual must be conducted accordingly. Any mistake causes a lot of trouble, which is why this festival is also called Gota Matsuri, the word "gota" meaning "trouble," or "Festival of Disputes."

The ceremony starts on the 13th. On the 17th, when all the floats have gathered, the heads of each town pay visits to other towns to exchange greetings in the name card exchange ritual. Amid performances of traditional festival music the floats later make a tour of the shrine. Selected as a World Heritage Site, Futarasan is familiarly known as Nantaisan (or Mt. Nantai). The Futarasan Jinja is dedicated to the mountain itself. High priest Shodo, who founded this shrine in 790, is also famous for opening up the mountain of Nikko. He was the first to succeed in climbing to the summit of this very steep mountain, and he erected a shrine there. It is believed that Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, which are popular tourist spots today, were also discovered by Shodo and his followers. There are many places of interest, such as the main shrine which was constructed in 1619.


From Tokyo:[Rail]8 minutes' walk from Nishisando bus stop. Nishisando bus stop is on the bus route from JR Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station. JR Nikko Station is on the JR Nikko Line. Change at Utsunomiya, which is on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line or JR Tohoku Line from JR Tokyo Station. Tobu Nikko Station is on the Tobu Railways' Line from Tobu Asakusa Station.

Event Information

Place: Futarasan Jinja Shrine,
Dates: April 13th to 17th
*Dates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.
City: Sannai, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture

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