Saruka Jinja—built approximately 1,000 years ago—is famous in the Tsugaru region (southern Aomori Pref.) for its deity that governs agriculture. The Jugoya Taisai is one of the prefecture's largest festivals, celebrated annually from August 14th through 16th of the traditional Japanese lunar calendar.
On the night of August 15th (of the old calendar) known as Jugoya, many moon-viewing festivals are held across Japan. Here too, on Jugoya—the second night of the festival—a moon-viewing "Kangetsu-sai" festival is held in a ceremonious mood.
In addition to moon-viewing, many events are held during this three-day festival, such as the Mikoshi float procession, performances of the sacred "Tsugaru Kagura" dance, lion dance competition and Tozan-bayashi (songs performed and chanted during mountain climbing) performances.
The lion dance competition is held annually on the morning of the first day of the festival. Competitors wearing a lion head-piece and colorful attire dance energetically. Since the dancers gather from all across the Tsugaru region, the competition becomes filled with enthusiasm seen nowhere else.
Please enjoy the many varieties of lion dancing, such as those with black feathers attached to the backs like a mane, or the dueling dances of the heavy bear-lion and the deer-lion.
Many of the events held during the festival are sacred rituals. Please view them quietly.
Access to Hirakawa City
Tsugaru-Onoe Station on the Konan Railway Konan Line
Saruka Jinja shrine
Address: 175 Saruka-ishibayashi, Hirakawa City, Aomori Pref.
Transfer to the Konan Railway Konan Line at JR Hirosaki Station, get off at Tsugaru-Onoe Station, and walk for 15 min
[Nearest Bus Stop]
Saruka Jinja-mae stop on Konan Bus Onoe route