Winter Festivals In Aichi
The cold dark days of winter are brightened somewhat by the range and scale of fascinating, unique, traditional, cultural, yet entertaining festivals that take place in Aichi Prefecture. Rug up and join in!
A treat of traditional dances, rituals, ceremonies, and visits by ogres, spirits, gods and mythical beasts, the Hana Matsuri is a lively National Significant Intangible Folk Cultural Asset designated winter solstice festival, dating back to the late 1300s. Held in 15 locations in eastern Aichi.
The Tenteko Matsuri is a 900 year-old festival to pray for a bumper harvest of the five grains, held on January 3 every year. Men in red kimono hang a large daikon radish around their waist, then walk around thrusting their hips, and the swinging male-appendage radish, in a lewd manner, while singing “Tenteko, tenteko,..” A strange and amusing festival.
Every freezing cold February, thousands of warmly dressed spectators line the avenue to the ancient Konomiya Shrine to watch the Hadaka Matsuri, the Naked Festival. Hundreds of men in only light cotton loincloths are splashed with cold water as they carry portable shrines, or try to touch the “Lucky Man”as he makes his way to the inner shrine.
A thrilling 1,200 year old fire festival, held at the Toba Shinmeisha Shrine, and featuring 2 great 5-ton blazing torches, with a ladder between the 2 torches the “chosen one” must climb.
The famed warrior and very first Shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo is said to have started this festival over 800 years ago. Participants wearing the mask of a grandfather, grandmother, or grandson demon appear, and dance among the flames of burning torches held aloft by the locals. This festival is held to pray for both a bumper crop of the five grains, as well as for peace.