Wed
Jun 24

Izawanomiya Otaue Festival

Free
Matsuri

This festival takes place on June 24th each year at Izawanomiya (Izawa Shrine) – one of the 123 shinto shrines that makes up the giant Ise Grand Shrine complex in Mie Prefecture. Additionally, it’s yet another officially recognised intangible cultural asset and one of three major “Otaue” festivals in Japan each year. The others happen in Chiba Prefecture in April and as part of the Sumiyoshi Festival in Osaka.

If you’re struggling with the name, you could use the nickname that the locals use for it – “Omita”.

“Otaue” means rice planting and sowing the rice plants is one of the shinto rituals performed in order to ensure a good harvest.

Aside from the ritual planting, a large blue bamboo pole is put at the bottom of the muddy field. Teams of men in fundoshi (loin cloths) scramble through the mud to grab the pole and carry it off. It’s believed that the successful pole grabbers will be provided with safety while at sea.

The mythology of the festival involves an ancient visit by 7 sharks which swam up the Nogawa (No River) to visit the shrine. The sharks are purported to visit even now, so that local fishermen suspend their fishing – presumably so that the sharks aren’t accidentally caught. An added bonus is that they get to scramble through the mud after the talismanic bamboo pole.

Ask our local experts about Japan

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Dec 6
    ~
    Dec 15

    Kobe Luminarie 2019

    Kobe Luminarie is an annual winter light-up held in memory of the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Now running for over 20 years, the event takes place in the vicinity of Motomachi Station on the JR Kobe […]

    Free
    Illumination
  • Dec 15
    ~
    Dec 18

    Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

    This festival in Nara prefecture traces its origin back to the 12th century. The name comes from the Wakamiya Shrine – a shrine within the ground of the larger Kasuga Taisha Shrine. This event is really a combination of different […]

    Free
    Matsuri
  • Kyoto illuminations hanatouro arashiyama
    Dec 13
    ~
    Dec 22

    Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro - Illuminations

    The quiet streets of Arashiyama and Sagano will be beautifully lit each evening, allowing you to explore the traditional town after dark. Temples and shrines will be open during the evenings and this will be an amazing chance to see […]

    5:00pm – 8:30pm
    Free
    Illumination
  • Nov 22
    ~
    Dec 25

    Sapporo White Illumination

    This winter light-up takes place at five different locations including Odori Park, Sapporo Eki-mae Dori and Minami 1-Jo Dori. All locations switch on the lights on November 22nd, but while Odori Park finishes on Christmas day, Sapporo Station continues until […]

    Free
    Illumination

Recommended hotels located nearby

We do our best to make sure event info is correct. However, all event details are subject to change.