Dressing the oxen at the Mibu-no-hanadue ritual rice planting festival

The Mibu-no-hanadaue ritual rice planting festival in Chiyoda, Kita-hiroshima, is the largest and most spectacular of many similar festivals held in the rural communities of northern Hiroshima Prefecture during May and June.

Staking out a position alongside the rice field were the main action takes place is highly recommended, but it is also well worth heading down to the lovely Mibu Hachiman Shrine before the festival proper gets going.

It is here that the beautiful, bovine beasts, that are arguably the real stars of the festival, are groomed, dressed and decorated before being paraded through the town to the rice field. Their handlers hang out here too, enjoying a pre-festival picnic and fair few drams of sake. It’s a great opportunity to get up close to the cattle and admire their gorgeous regalia.

Mibu Hachiman Shrine

Address: 287 Mibu, Kita-hiroshima-cho, Yamagata-gun 〒731-1515
Address in Japanese: 287 壬生 北広島町 山県郡 広島県 〒731-1515

Read more and see photos from Mibu Hachiman Shrine here.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.