Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival

Tochigi, Kanto

Enjoy the autumn in Nikko, the gateway to the Tohoku District, while gazing at the samurai procession

This is the autumn festival of Nikko Toshogu, a registered World Heritage Site, where the Shunki Reitaisai – Grand Spring Festival is staged on May 17th and 18th. Just as in the Spring Festival, the main attraction in the Grand Autumn Festival is the grand procession of men dressed in samurai costumes (known as Hyakumono-Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu or the Parade of 1,000 Samurai Warriors).

This procession, consisting of one mikoshi (a portable shrine) and a train of about 800 people, is slightly smaller in scale than that of the Spring Festival. Led by the portable shrine, the samurai procession, made up of cavalry, warriors carrying guns and others with spears, archers with bows and arrows, and so on, departs from the Futarasan-jinja Shrine of Sannai, Nikko, and heads for the Otabisho, which is a temporary resting place for a portable shrine during a festival, 1 km away. It is interesting to observe this procession as it gives you an insight into 17th Century Japan. This pageant is believed to be a reproduction of the funeral ceremony of the First Shogun of Tokugawa, namely Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616).

Also on the 16th, there is the performance of Yabusame to the delight of the numerous spectators. Yabusame is a contest combining equestrian skills and kyudo (Japanese-style archery) which was popular among the samurai warriors from the end of the Heian Period (794-1192) to the Kamakura Period (1192-1333); the archer shoots at three targets one after the other while galloping on horseback. In recent years, it has also become famous overseas as an event handing down the traditions of Bushido (the code of the samurai warriors) which prospered in Japan in the good old days, and you will spot many foreign tourists among the crowds of spectators.

*Photo (C) TOCHIGI Prefectural Government, Tokyo Office


[Rail]About 5 minutes' walk from Shinkyo bus stop.Shinkyo bus stop is about 5 minutes on the Tobu Bus from JR Nikko Station bound for Chuzenji Onsen or for Yumoto Onsen.JR Nikko Station is about 45 minutes from JR Utsunomiya Station on the Nikko Line.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine
October 17th
Dates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.
2301, Sannai, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture

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