The Yatsushiro Myōken Festival is one of the oldest traditional festivals in Japan, dating back to the 14th century.
Colorful costumes, dragons, and lions march between the shrines of Yatsushiro City.
The Yatsushiro Myōken Festival is spread across two days.
The first day is the “downward” procession, with just a core collection of performances. However, you’ll still see plenty of dances and costumes, as well as enjoy a general festival atmosphere with food stalls and a parade.
The second day is the bigger event. From an early 7:30 a.m. start, the parade procession goes through the city, making its way to Yatsushiro Shrine. There are performances every 30 minutes during the parade and regular stops at other shrines en route. At 12:30 p.m., there’ll be a series of performances from different groups in the parade for two hours, after which the festival continues until the evening.
You can see the full schedule here.
How to get there
The festival takes place in Yatsushiro City in Kumamoto Prefecture. The easiest way to get there is by Shinkansen, with the Kyushu Shinkansen calling at Shin-Yatushiro station. From there, it’s just a short hop on the Kagoshima Line to Yatsushiro Station. Alternatively, you can fly to Aso Kumamoto Airport, and from there, it’s an hour on the bus to Yatsushiro City.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.