The Mino Takehana Matsuri and Fuji Matsuri are held in May in Hashima City, Gifu Prefecture.
On May 3rd, go see the thirteen festival floats made over 200 years ago and the performances given on top of them for the Mino Takehana Matsuri. Each float is a beautiful piece of Japanese art, covered in beautiful decorative cloth containing gold and silver threads. The highlight is the Hikisoroe, the string of consecutive performances put on by each float, one at a time, as they gather in a line on a long red carpet. The performance of Karakuri Ningyo (mechanical puppets) dates back over 200 years. Karakuri refers to elaborately crafted mechanic apparatuses used in these performances. Be stunned in amazement by the level of craftsmanship of the ancient local artists.
But the fun doesn't end there. You must also check out the Fuji Matsuri, held at the same time, over a 2 week period. It is a time to slow down and take in the beautiful view of the Wisteria, a popular flower loved overseas as well. It will surely be a fantasy-like treat to have a roof of these beautiful purple flowers overhead as you relax and make sweet memories, like the soft fragrance of the wisteria.
Each of the thirteen local boroughs has a float, half of which are sent out each year to parade the town streets while the other half is sent to three different locations around the Takehana shopping district to be put on display. The gorgeous curtains woven with threads of gold and silver are wonderful works of art that speak deeply of Japanese tradition. This is your chance to get a close-up look at the beauty and detail of the decorations.
When all the floats assemble for the Hikisoroe, the traditional folk performances devised for the gods bring entertainment for the viewing public as well. Each float has a different performance, such as Te-odori (hand dancing) performed by children and Karakuri NIngyo (mechanical puppets). The Karakuri Ningyo is especially eye-catching, built for precise movements and decorated in splendid costume. At one point, during one of the shows, one puppet is given a brush and starts to write with it, showing off a level of craftsmanship you won't believe existed over 200 years ago.
The Takehanabetsu-in Temple has a 300 year old Wisteria tree whose branches reach out a whopping 33 meters. It has been on the brink of death before in its long history, but thanks to the hard work and care of the citizens, it was brought back to life and now blooms every year, filling its visitors with energy. An area for drinking tea is provided below its blooming canopy for people to relax and enjoy their tea with a side of wisteria aroma. From 6:30 to 9:00pm, the tree is lit up, making the flower gradation even more beautiful.
Around the Takehanacho area of Hashima City, Gifu Prefecture
Access to venue
Hashimashiyakusho-mae (Hashima City Hall, front) Station, on the Meitetsu Takehana Line.
10min walk from the Hashimashiyakusho-mae Station.
[Nearest Bus Stop]
Kanko Koryu (Tourism Exchange) Center Stop, on the Hashima City Community Bus, Higashi or Hashimawaru Line.
5min walk from the bus stop in front of the Hashima City Tourism Exchange Center.