Maebashi Hatsuichi Matsuri

Maebashi city, Gunma


Maebashi Hachimangu (shrine), Maebashi city, Gunma
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January 9th


Maebashi Chamber of Commerce and Industry/+81-27-234-5108

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Maebashi Chamber of Commerce and Industry


The Hatsuichi Festival is one of the three major Maebashi festivals, along with the Maebashi Festival and Maebashi Tanabata Star Festival. It is held in the center of Maebashi city, Gunma Prefecture, on January 9th every year.

The Hatsuichi Festival originated in the markets held on the 4th and 9th of the month in ancient times. This festival has a history of more than 400 years, starting in 1617, when Sakai Shigetada was the feudal lord.

On the day of the festival, there are many stalls along the streets, which bustle with visitors late into the night. Since many stalls sell Daruma (Dharma) dolls, the festival is also known as the Daruma Market.

The festival opens with a Daruma bonfire (a ritual burning of last year’s Daruma dolls) at Maebashi Hachimangu Shrine. After that, the mikoshi (portable shrine) procession starts from Hachimangu and parades with kiyari song singers, matoi flag bearers, and tengu (legendary creatures) along the streets of stalls. When the mikoshi arrives at the temporary shrine between a large dancing lion and a huge Daruma, a ceremony is performed and saké is served to visitors. A crowd lines up to visit the temporary shrine, which has become a feature of the region.

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