The Saigoku Kaido in Shareo

The Saigoku Kaido (Saigoku Route/Way/Road), was the main overland thoroughfare between Kyushu and Kyoto between from the 8th century up until 1927, when it was superseded by the less romantically titled National Route #2.

While the route originally made a wide detour north to avoid the delta on which Hiroshima city was yet to be built, it later adjusted to pass through the newly established castle town from the early Edo Period. This March, Hiroshima city government is sponsoring a week of events to commemorate and spread awareness of this historical conduit of trade and culture.

Things kick off on March 3 with a reenactment of the Toori Gosairei parade which was held only every 50 years during the Edo period to commemorate the anniversary of the death of the shogun that Tokugawa Ieyasu – the 3rd of Japan’s great unifiers and who ushered in the 250 year long Edo era. The parade was resurrected in 2015 after a 200 year hiatus.

Toori Gosairei parade
Toori Gosairei parade

The original route of the parade was between Toushougu and Hirose shrines. However, on this occasion, it will start at Tokueiji Temple on the outskirts of the entertainment district, make its way along Butsudan-dori, Ebisu-dori and the Kinzagai and Hondori shopping arcades, before ducking down into the Shareo underground shopping mall. It is the central plaza in Shareo, where the parade ends up, that is the focus of the week’s events. ‘Saigoku Kaido Week’ closes with another parade on March 11, this time a “Kabu Parade”.

In addition to the scheduled events below, there will be regular period performances, a display of local products and the opportunity to get dressed up and walk about in kimono.

Main event schedule

March 3

  • 13:30 Toori Gosairei Parade
  • 14:00 Saigoku Kaido Symposium (Japanese language only)

March 4

  • 11:00-19:00 Sake of the Saigoku Kaido sake tasting
  • 11:00 Tasting of local delicacies
  • 12:00 Rakugo story-telling and shamisen concert
  • 14:00 Nabe hotpot unveiling and free tasting for the first 200 hungry participants.
Rakugo storytelling

March 5

March 6

March 7

March 9

March 10

  • Koto and traditional instrument concert 13:30 and 17:00
  • 15:00 Children’s kagura performance
Koto performance

March 11

  • Kabu traditional music parade and performance 13:00 and 15:00
  • Hiroshima Samurai” performance 17:00

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