Tōkasan yukata festival returns after a 2 year COVID induced break. However, we have to wait another year for it to return to the event that we know and love.
Tōkasan temple festival
The festival is known for kicking off summer in Hiroshima. Locals don lightweight yukata summer kimono for the first time of the year and promenade enjoying the carnivalesque atmosphere created by hundreds of street stalls and performances that take over the city center streets.
The traditional heart of the festival, however, is Enryu-ji Temple, commonly known as Tōkasan, which is dedicated to the god of rice and prosperity Inari Daimyojin. There is usually a long line of people lined up throughout the 3 days of the festival waiting to buy special fans to ward off misfortune and pay their respects at the temple which is decorated with around 500 brightly lit lanterns.
As in 2021, this year’s temple festival will be a hybrid affair with the fans and amulets available online as well as in the temple precincts and temple ceremonies will be streamed online. It will be interesting to see whether the crowds return.
Yukata de Kinsai events
Outside of the temple, unfortunately the main streets will not be closed to traffic and it seems that the stalls will also be absent. As far as we can tell, we will also have to wait until at least 2023 for the return of our favorite part of Tōkasan, the bon dance organized by the venerable folks at the Shintenchi store association.
Yukata de kinsai events will be restricted to two venues Alice Garden (between PARCO and Don Quijote) and the Shareo underground shopping center.
In Alice Garden, large lanterns and bamboo tunnels will be set up to enhance photo opportunities. A fashion show “Yukata Collection” will be held in Shareo’s central square on the 3rd and 4th of June, and a special runway will be open to visitors when there are no stage events.
Although Shareo tends to suck the fun out of any event held there, hopefully the Alice Garden site will give us something of a taste of the Tōksan that we know and love. City officials hope that the events, though limited, will encourage people to dig out their yukata and stroll around the city streets over the festival weekend.