Sakura Aki Matsuri

Sakura City, Chiba


Makata Jinja, Kaburagi-machi, Sakura City, Chiba
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From second Friday to Sunday in October


Sakura City Tourism Association

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Sakura City Tourism Association


This festival originated as Makata Shrine Festival to pray for an abundant harvest. Large Mikoshi (portable shrines), Dashi (floats), and Omikisho (a float with people dancing on it) parade throughout the maze of the castle town. It is a bold and spectacular festival where you can see floats and Omikisho passing each other with vigorous cheer and dancing to Sakura-bayashi (festival music accompaniment).

The festival is held over three days, with the parade of large Mikoshi performed on the first day. “Myojin matsuri, saraba hisashi (Parade after a long time, See the improvement of the town.)” You will hear the unique shouts and the gorgeous Mikoshi moving and swinging widely to left and right.

On the second day, the main attraction is Ningyo-dashi (a float carrying large figures) and Omikisho (a float carrying people dancing). Three Ningyo-dashi carry six figures that were made by the master craftsman of the Edo era. These are designated cultural assets of Sakura City and another three figures, which are not carried by dashi, are exhibited in each town. There are 15 Odoriyatai (floats carrying people dancing). A technique known as “Hanaguruma” is demonstrated, powerfully rotating the dance stage at the top of the float. This is a spectacular parade with these Odoriyatai moving through the castle town among the remnants of the Edo period.

On the third day, the Mikoshi go around each town, and are then joined by Ningyo-dashi and Odoriyatai. When the Mikoshi enter the town of the carriers of an Odoriyatai, the dancers return to their town and prepare sacred sake on the float to welcome the Mikoshi. The Odoriyatai position the carrier bar so that the Mikoshi can connect to it. The sacred sake is then provided to the people. This ceremony is the reason why the Odoriyatai is called “Omikisho.” Toward the end of the festival, the large Mikoshi are swung high and low as they return to the precincts of the shrine. This “Miyairi” is the most exciting ceremony of this festival and really comes alive.

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