Kangen-sai is the largest and greatest annual festival held at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island.
Originating in the Heian period, Kangen-sai is a festival in which a portable shrine carrying the gods of Itsukushima is moved between other shrines on the island via a Goza boat. Musicians follow, playing kangen music while moving across the water.
Kangen is a type of Japanese classical court music played on nine instruments including three types of stringed instrument, drums, and flutes.
- 16:00: Hatsurensai-Shinto ceremony at Itsukushima Shrine.
- 17:00: The portable shrine is moved to the Goza boat. Both the Goza and Aga rowing boats depart the shrine heading toward O-torii gate.
- 17:40: Ceremonial imperial court music is performed at the gate. The boats sail toward Jigozen Shrine.
- 19:00: Eba’s rowing boat is unfastened from the Goza boat and goes ahead to Jigozen Shrine to dedicate a dance performance. After sunset, lanterns are lit.
- 20:20: The boats get to Jigozen Shrine.
- 21:40: When the boats arrive at the front of Nagahama Shrine, people on Miyajima greet them with paper lanterns.
- 22:30: Ceremonial Gagaku is performed on the shore in front of Omoto Shrine.
- 23:30: Ceremonial Gagaku music is performed in front of Marodo Shrine. This is the grand finale of the festival.
- 24:00: The portable shrine is transported back to Itsukushima Shrine.
How to get there
Check out our guide on the best and most affordable ways to get from Tokyo to Hiroshima.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.