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Toyokawa-City Wakaba Festival (Unagoji Festival)

Date : 04/07/2018, 04/08/2018


  • Wakaba Festival (Unagoji Festival)
  • Wakaba Festival (Unagoji Festival)

The secular Ushikubo Wakaba Festival of Toyokawa-City

This is a very unique, if not amusing, festival. Five exuberant floats are pushed from Tenno Shrine to Ushikubo Hachimansha Shrine, having as background the sound of flutes and drums, and escorted by "Sasa" dancers who, following certain patterns of the music, drop to the ground and stay motionless until the "Toshigyoji" helper wakes them up. The similarity of the lying dancers to a bunch of maggots on the street has earned the festival its nickname of "Unagoji Matsuri", literally "Maggots Festival"!

Records at the Toyokawa Central Library indicate that this unique festival is held annually at least since before 1701, in honor to Toyokawa’s Patron “Kami”, Ushikubo of Hachiman Shrine. The days for the festival are in the weekend closest to April 7th and 8th. This is due to the fact that in ancient times those days were religious holidays in the town: the “eve” on Saturday preceding the main event of Sunday.

It is believed that this festival has its origins as homage to the lords of Imahashi Castle, that existed in the current location of Yoshida Castle in Toyohashi-City, beginning with samurai Makino Kohaku and his successors, who preached that “the country owes its existence to the people who lives in it”. Once, the lord was so overwhelmed in gratitude for the hard work put by its loyal retainers upon completion of a new fortification, that he decided to host a generous banquet with plenty of food and rice wine “sake”, inviting all the populace. The guests became so inebriated that many were not even able to walk properly their way back home, stumbling and hanging on each other’s shoulders, while others would just plainly sleep on the street. Due to the sheer number of guests, they were spread everywhere around town. The memory of this happy event and the lord’s generosity was so well imprinted on the habitants' minds that they decide to celebrate the event every year since then.

This peculiar and lively festival is designated by Aichi Prefecture as Important Intangible Folk Culture Asset and a must for tourists!

EVENT OVERVIEW

Date : Weekend closest to April 7th and 8th
(April 7th (Saturday) and 8th (Sunday), 2018)
Holding time : April 7th (Saturday) from 3:30 PM to 8:00 PM
April 8th (Sunday) from 12:10 PM to 8:30 PM
Place : Ushikubo Hachiman Shrine
Location : 〒442-0826
164 Tokiwa, Ushikubo-cho, Toyokawa-City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Fee : Free of charge
Parking : Not available
Phone number : 0533-89-2206 (Toyokawa City Tourism Association)

Note: This page may not be current due to update time differences between site databases.
Should accuracy be critical, please verify this information using a direct source, whenever possible.

ACCESS

  • Access by public transport
    Access by public transport
    5min walk from Ushikubo Station of the JR Iida Line (board from JR/Meitetsu Toyohashi Station)
  • Access by car
    Access by car
    Approx. 15min from Toyokawa I.C. of the Tomei Expressway

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KeywordKeyword
#Wakaba Festival
#Unagoji Festival
#Toyokawa City

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