This festival has over 420 years of history and is held in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture, which is known as a hot springs location. It features an abundance of Hanamaki’s traditional culture, including beautifully elegant Furyu dashi festival floats that flicker with lanterns, over 100 majestic Mikoshi portable shrines, Shishi Odori (deer dance) and Kagura-Gongenmai dances that have been continued since ancient times, and the refined Hanamaki Bayashi Odori dance.
The special attraction of the Hanamaki Festival is absolutely the Dashi floats from each neighbourhood of the city. The festival boasts one of the largest number of participants in Japan. The annual sight of over 100 portable shrines rocking bewitchingly through the streets of Hanamaki is the highlight! There were 114 portable shrines during the festival in 2015, setting a world record for the largest display of mikoshi (portable shrines) in one location.
Another must-see feature is the Taru Mikoshi portable shrine, which is made using sake barrels. Although today the main mikoshi is a gorgeous Miya Mikoshi (owned by shrines), the olden-day Taru Mikoshi is also loved by people as an essential feature of the festival.
- Hanamaki Matsuri Executive Committee (Tourism Section, Hanamaki City)
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