*Please note, this festival has been reduced in size this year, so not all events are taking place. There will be no Hoekago parades, stalls or entertainment performances due to unfavourable behaviour in previous years. It is likely the parade won’t take place for a few years.*
The Aizen Festival is touted as the first major summer festival in Osaka of the year. Along with Tenjin Festival and the Sumiyoshi Festival it’s also known as one of the three big Osaka festivals. Known colloquially as “Aizen san” (the other 2 big festivals get the same treatment) the festival takes place in and around Aizendo temple. One of the big draws of the festival is the Hoekago Parade on June 30th in which a “geisha” (a beautiful young woman – not the elaborately made up figure you’re imagining) is carried aloft in a basket. “Hoekago” literally means “blessed treasure basket”. The parade participants chant “ho-e-ka-go” while carrying the young woman aloft.