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April 2020

Fire walking ritual at Daishoin Temple

April 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Daisho-in Temple, 210 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0592 Japan
Free

Photo: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Pryer "Hi-watari-shiki" Fire walking ritual takea place at Daishoin Temple on Miyajima twice a year on April 15 and November 15. Readings from the 8000 verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra begin at 11am and extravagant Saito-goma rituals begin around 1pm in the temple forecourt with a purification offering to the alter and the chanting of sutras. This is followed by two Buddhist monks circling the area with swords and then shooting 7 arrows into the air…

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[CANCELED] Kintaikyo Bridge Festival

April 29
Iwakuni Kintaikyo Bridge, 1 Iwakuni
Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi-ken Japan
Free

The annual Kintai Bridge Festival in Iwakuni is an excellent way to kick off your Golden Week.

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May 2020

[Canceled] Takehara Bamboo Festival

May 3 - May 4
Takehara Historical Preservation District, 3 chome, Honmachi
Takehara-shi, Hiroshima-ken 725-0022 Japan
Free

Parades and lots of bamboo themed activities and performances in the streets of "bamboo town" Takehara's historical preservation district.  

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[CANCELED] Shinjo no Hayashida Traditional Rice Planting

May 10 @ 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Shinjo, Kita-hiroshima
Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima-ken 732-0063 Japan
Free

Shinjo's annual rice planting event is less well known than the Mibu-no-hanadaue event held in the neighboring town of Chiyoda at the beginning of June, but its tradition is just as long. The local Provincial Art PreservationCommittee has been working hard to continue the event since 1928, only ceasing activity during wartime. Known as hayashida, the ritual involves the welcoming of the  god of trice fields, sanbai, into the ground. Saotome rice planting maidens plant rice in time to music played on drums and flutes.…

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June 2020

Toukasan Yukata Festival

June 5 - June 7
Tōkasan Enryu-ji Temple, 8-12 Mikawa-cho
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free
Singer Minami Issei in Shintenmchi Park at Tokasan yukata festival in hiroshima, japan

Hiroshima really comes alive over the three nights of Tōkasan - a festival that really does feel "festive".  Join the 300,000 people who will be donning their yukata for the first time this year who take over Chuo-dori and environs to promenade, play festival games like fish scooping, buy strange inflatable novelties and stuff their faces with equally strange stuff on sticks. As well as parades and summer bon dancing, there will be taiko drumming and other performances on stages…

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[CANCELED] Mibu-no-Hanadaue Traditional Rice Planting Ritual

June 7 @ 10:30 am - 4:00 pm
Mibu, Kitahiroshima-cho
Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima-ken 731-1515 Japan
Free

Mibu-no-hanadaue is a revived rice planting ritual said to have roots in the middle ages that is renacted on the first Sunday of June every year. The event was designated as a UNESCO Intangible Heritage in 2003 and many people now make the trip to Chiyoda in Kita-hiroshima to view it. Bulls are led through the streets to Mibu Hachiman Shrine where they are dressed with elaborately decorated saddles and colorful necklaces. They are then led to a field, and…

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November 2020

Fire walking ritual at Daishoin Temple

November 15 @ 11:00 am
Daisho-in Temple, 210 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0592 Japan
Free

Photo: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Pryer "Hi-watari-shiki" Fire walking ritual takea place at Daishoin Temple on Miyajima twice a year on April 15 and November 15. Readings from the 8000 verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra begin at 11am and extravagant Saito-goma rituals begin around 1pm in the temple forecourt with a purification offering to the alter and the chanting of sutras. This is followed by two Buddhist monks circling the area with swords and then shooting 7 arrows into the air…

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Ebisuko Festival

November 18 - November 20
Ebisu Shrine, 5-14 Ebisu-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima, Hiroshima 730-0021 Japan
Free
Ebsuko Festival

Ebisu Shrine's autumn festival marks the arrival of winter in Hiroshima. Known among locals as Ebessan after the god of commerce, surrounding stores hold sales and buy komazarae bamboo rakes adorned with gold coins and atreasure ship. You might here business owners complain that the whole thing is a racket, but you won't see a shop, restaurant or bar in the area without one. A huge barrel with mouth wide open is placed in front of the shrine to receive offerings. Learn more…

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December 2020

New Year at Gokoku Shrine

December 31, 2020 - January 3, 2021
Gokoku-jinja Shrine, 2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
Free
Gokoku-jinja Shrine in Hiroshima at New Year

December 31 From 17:00 Ooharae-shiki (purification ceremony) & Joya-sai (seeing out the old year festival) From just after 11pm the bell in the main shrine building opens for clanging and the ceremonial sake starts to be served to the first of the over half a million people who will visit over the next few days. 24:00 Shrine maidens dance to welcome the new year. January 1 10:00 Saitansai is a Shinto ritual to mark the beginning of New Year, followed…

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Chinkasai Fire Festival

December 31 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mikasa-no-hama, Miyajima, Mikasa-no-hama, Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, 739-0588 Japan
Free

With most people living in the wooden houses, closely clustered together along narrow streets for centuries, fear of calamitous fires is deeply ingrained in the Japanese psyche. The Chinkasai on Miyajima is an impressive fire appeasing festival held on New Year's Eve. Read more about the Chinkasai Fire Festival here.  

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January 2021

New Year rituals at Itsukushima Shrine

January 1, 2021 - January 5, 2021
Itsukushima Shrine, 1-1 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0588 Japan
¥300

Jan 1 Shin-i Kenjo-shiki Ceremony (offering new clothes to deities) from midnight Saitan-sai Festival Ceremony Bugaku traditional dance performance starts at 5:30am. Jan 2 Futsukasai Ceremony 09:00 Omatsubayashishinnou Bugaku traditional dance performance 13:00 Jan 3 Genshisai Ceremony 09:00 Bugaku performance 13:00 Jan 5 Chikyusai Ceremony and Bugaku performance 05:30 Includes Batoh (Sunrise Dance) only performed once a year on this day.  

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Nanakusa-gayu at Tōshō-gū Shrine

January 7, 2021 @ 11:00 am
Tōshō-gū Shrine, 2-1-18 Futaba-no-sato, Higashi-ku
Hiroshima-shi, 732-0057 Japan
¥300
nanakusa no sekku rice soup at toshogu

800 bowls of the healthy seven-herb rice porridge traditionally eaten on January 7. Available from 11am until they are all gone (¥300 a bowl). Read more about the Nankusa-no-sekku festival here.  

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Momote-sai

January 20, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Miyajima Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free

Ritual firing of the first arrow at Omote Shrine on Miyajima is held on January 20 every year. Click here for more info and pics.">Click here for more info and pics.  

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