The Kamezakishiohi Matsuri, held annually on the 3rd and 4th of May, is a bold and gorgeous display of floats along the edge of local port waters.
Legend has it, that a long long time ago, the deity Jimmu Tenno, a former emperor presently enshrined in Kamizaki Shrine, once landed upon the beach of Kamezaki during battle, hence the five floats that are brought down to the water front for this festival. Decorated in gorgeous embroidered curtains and elaborate carvings, these floats run down the ramp to the waves where they line up in the shallow waters of the low tide, resembling beautiful awe-inspiring flowers in bloom.
This float ritual at Kamezakishiohi Matsuri was enlisted as a Unesco intangible cultural asset in 2016.
The Kaihin-hikioroshi is the part of the festival when the five floats are maneuvered down to the beach one by one. They go down the ramp in one swift descent and make their way to the water's edge. The young locals enter the water up to their knees to pull the floats along and are sprayed with the ocean mist. The carriers known as "boyaku" do their best to steer the large objects in the unstable sand. Finally, with festive flags billowing in the ocean breeze, the five floats line up in awesome display.
The Bojime is held before the floats enter the beach. Here, the Shimenawa rope that holds the rudder and the sole plate together is re-tied and retightened. The rope is pulled tight from four different directions as young locals make festive music to keep everyone in time.
When it's time for the float to change directions, these local men of the sea perform a traditional rope maneuver known as the "Wakateami no Hayagake."
A rope known as Wakateami is tied tight up against the hind-shaft of the float and is used in a lever-like fashion to help the float smoothly maneuver corners. You can see this cunning method being used repeatedly at the S-shaped stretch of the course known as Ogawa no Mageba.
The finale of this two day long festival is the Hikimawashi held on the grounds of the Kamizaki shrine. The Floats are pulled and whisked around with force in the middle of crowds of people and then are lined up facing the shrine. At the end, the floats are joined by four more groups of local men and are pulled and spun around on end as if the festival was never meant to end.
Littering is prohibited. Please dispose of trash in proper bins.
Please park car/bicycle in proper parking areas.
Parking on the roadside is prohibited as it obstructs the route of the float and festivalgoers.
The floats are irreplaceable cultural assets. Please refrain from touching the carvings and curtains.
Please be careful not to damage the floats while passing by. Make sure bags, cameras, umbrellas, food and drink and other things are at a distance.
During the descent onto the beach and the Hikimawashi at the Kamizaki Shrine, please refrain from entering the red and white ropes as those blocked-off areas can prove dangerous.
During sharp turns, the floats, due to the turning mechanism, can make unexpected movements that can be dangerous so be sure to follow the instructions of the nearby staff and security. Please view from a safe distance.
During the Bojime in the morning of the first day, the entrance onto the beach will be blocked off so please take a detour route when heading to the beach.
Make sure to cross at the crosswalk when crossing route 247.
Access to Handa City
Kamezaki Station on the JR Taketoyo Line
All areas of Kamezaki
Kamezakicho, Handa City, Aichi Prefecture
Kaihin Ryokuchi Park
Kamizakicho, Handa City
2-92 Kamizakicho, Handa City
15min walk from JR Kamezaki Station to the Kamizaki Shrine
Chita Bus Kamezaki Line
From Meitetsu Chita Handa Station, get off at Kenshamae