Onomichi Gion Festival

While Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri, held every July, is one of Japan’s best-known festivals, the port town of Onomichi also holds a Gion Festival which starts from its own Yasaka Shrine at the end of June each year. It may not have the grandeur of the former capital, but the energetic climax of Onomichi’s Gion Matsuri certainly gets hearts racing and cameras clicking.

onomichi gion matsuri

One of Onomichi’s three major festivals. Three groups of men dressed in happi coats carrying mikoshi portable shrines make their way, chanting and banging as they go, from Kubo Yasaka Shrine through the narrow city streets to the gathering point at the watabashi ferry landing on Onomichi’s waterfront.

onomichi gion matsuri

Then the three groups race as fast as they can around a large banner in front of large crowds. Finally all three groups repeat the circling of the banner, but at the same time, while purifying water is thrown upon them.



Onomichi Gion Festival timetable


  • Portable shrines leave Kubo Yasaka Shrine (久保八坂神社)


  • Festival stalls at Kubo Yasaka Shrine
  • First 300 people who pay respects at Yasaka shrine dressed in yukata get a free Japanese sweet


  • Portable shrines arrive and “battle” at Onomichi watashibashi on the waterfront


In 2024 Onomichi’s Gion Matsuri is held on June 29.


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.