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Shitara-Town Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)

Date : 01/02/2023 - 01/03/2023


  • Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)
  • Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)
  • Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)
  • Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)

Ancient Beliefs, Traditional Rituals, Spiritual Awareness, a Devil of a Time

Held annually from November to March in 15 locations of the Oku-Mikawa region, the Hana Festivals are an ancient tradition of over 700 years that have been appointed as Important National Intangible National Folkloric Heritages. At the Tsugu Hamlet, the rituals are carried out in order to ward off bad spirits, beseech abundant crops and supplicate for the village's prosperity. With 24 major performances interwoven with 39 minor numbers, the festival goes throughout the night uninterrupted.

Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)

Hana Festivals are a treat of traditional dances, rituals, ceremonies, and visits by demons, ogres, spirits, gods and mythical beasts, the Hana Matsuri is a lively winter solstice festival known for the “Tehohe! Tehohe!” chanting that goes along the shamanistic dances that characterizes it, and that in most cases runs through the night. Virtually a must-stop for tourists seeking to further deepen the insights about the livelihood of the Japanese mountain dwellers’.

The Hana Matsuri was first brought to the Oku-Mikawa region (Eastern Aichi) about 800 years ago by the warrior monks of Kumano and Kagahakusan. Back then the festival was a grand event called Okagura, and took place over seven days and nights and featured some 130 ritual dances and performances involving villagers from around the region. The amount of time, effort and money required to stage the event was enormous, and so it was only staged every seven or 20 years, using 100 gold Ryo coins (about 3.75kg) and 100 bales of rice (about 6,000kg), with more hidden in the forest in case they ran out.

Hana Festival (Shitara-Town, Tsugu)

About 400 years ago, the festival arrived at its present form, shortened to a one-day, one-night localized festival featuring up to 16 varied traditional dances, rituals, ceremonies, and visits by ogres, spirits, gods and mythical beasts. The Shinto rites and the dances remain essential parts of the festival, although the names and styles of the dances may differ according to location. Taking part is easy. Turn up, and you’ll be more than welcome to join in.

The reason for the name change from the Okagura to the Hana Festival has been lost to history, and there are a number of explanations as to why and how it became the Hana, or Flower Festival floating around. The children’s dances have a certain cuteness, while some of the demon dances featuring huge red devil masks may seem comical. The youth and adult dances represent a more traditional style of festivity. At the climax, boiling water is splashed around using straw brushes, and being sprayed is seen as most auspicious, bringing good health for a year. Some of the rituals may seem strange or pointless, however the traditions are adhered to in an effort to invoke the powers of the sun, and provide a traditional entertainment for all who come to enjoy.

*: As Hana Festivals are important Shinto rituals held in local communities, please be considerate of others when attending. Please see here for details on correct etiquette:  Toei-Town Hana Festival Page (Japanese - outside link)

EVENT OVERVIEW

  • Parking
Date : Annually on January 2
January 2 (Monday) to 3 (Tuesday), 2023
Holding time : From January 2, 2:00 PM to 3, 7:00 AM, 2023
Place : Shirotori Shrine (白鳥神社 Shirotori Jinja)
Location : 〒441-2601
14-5 Shimokudaru, Tsugu, Shitara-Town, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Fee : Free of charge
(however, offerings in money may entitle the visitor to a “Okaeshi” gift of local tradition)
Phone number : 0536-62-1000 (Shitara 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
    From JR Nagoya Station, transfer to the Iida Line at Toyohashi Station and alight at Toei Station. Ride the circulating bus to the venue.

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THE SURROUNDING ACCOMMODATION

NO IMAGEShinshiro-City

RYOKAN HISAGO

HAZU BEKKANShinshiro-City

HAZU BEKKAN(Annex)

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