Thu, Jun
24

Izawanomiya Otaue Festival

Free
Mie

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.

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Apr 9
    ~
    Apr 17

    Nagahama Hikiyama Festival

    Taking place in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, the Hikiyama Festival is named for the wheeled festival floats which are pulled along at many traditional festivals. However, the festival is known for ‘kodomo kabuki’ – children’s kabuki. In the case of the […]

    Free
  • Apr 17
    ~
    Apr 18

    Okinawa International Film Festival

    Founded in 2009 by comedy giant Yoshimoto Kogyo, the festival has a packed schedule which includes comedy and drama, as well as documentaries, young-director showcases, and development workshops. Despite the name, the Okinawa International Film Festival is decidedly more domestic […]

    ¥1,000 – ¥3,000
  • Miyako Odori
    Apr 1
    ~
    Apr 20

    Miyako Odori

    Cancelled

    A performance by Maiko and Geiko from different districts, also known as the dance of the capital. Begun to raise spirits after Tokyo was first declared Japan’s capital, it has been held in the Kaburenjo Theater since 1873 but due […]

    ¥4,000 – ¥5,500
  • Apr 23
    ~
    Apr 27

    Nagasaki Tall Ship Festival

    The Nagasaki Tall Ship Festival takes place in April each year in the spectacular backdrop of Nagasaki Harbor. Typically the event features a number of square rigged tall ships with their billowing sails providing a romantic glimpse into the bygone […]

    Free

Recommended hotels located nearby