Hitachi Furyumono(Hitachi Sakura Matsuri)

(日立風流物(日立さくらまつり))

Hitachi City, Ibaraki Pref.

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About the festival

The Hitachi Furyumono is not the name of the festival, but the name of the giant floats containing several different mechanical contraptions, or "tricks," known as "Karakuri". Karakuri have been used in Japan for ages and their mechanical quality is just exquisite. These floats, reaching 15m in height and weighing up to five tons, actually change their shape thanks to these Karakuri. These massive floats open up, before your very eyes, into a five-level performance stage, a sight you won't want to miss. Upon these stages, traditional puppet theater performances based on Japanese history and folk tales unfold as festival highlights. These puppets are also spiced with several Karakuri and change appearance in the middle of acts in the blink of an eye. These shows are performed in both front and back of the floats and the whole float is spun around 180 degrees after one show ends, marking the start of the show on the other side. The acting ability of these elaborately created puppets, and the sight of them walking around the float's stage is a treat you won't want to miss. It is possible to see, one, yes, only one of these Hitachi Furyumono at the Hitachi Sakura Matsuri. However, once every seven years, you can see four of these floats gather at the Grand Festival of Kamine Shrine. Be amazed at the rare splendor of these four floats in one location at the same time.

157 Reh Hitachi Furyumono

Things to do

1.Watch the floats shapeshift in the middle of the festival!

157 Re1 1 Hitachi Furyumono

There are four Hitachi Furyumono in total. They each boast separate decorations and puppet acts. One of these four floats stars in the Hitachi Sakura Matsuri. Once the puppet show starts and the festival Hayashi music begins, the float's Karakuri kicks into action transforming the float into a five-level stage. The opening and closing of the stage, along with all of the Karakuri of the puppets are all performed by human power. That means that over 30 people, including puppeteers and musicians climb inside the float which is maneuvered around by an additional 70, making the whole performance possible with the help of over 100 people.

2.Don't miss the Karakuri built inside the puppets

157 Re2 1 Hitachi Furyumono

As the puppet theater pieces are performed on the stage in front of you, take notice of the flashy costumes and the detailed movement. These puppets are roughly 1.5 meters tall and require two to three puppeteers to maneuver just one of them. During the acts, the puppets use swords and bows, dance and perform all kinds of detailed movements to mesmerize the audience. The arrows shot out from the float are for whoever catches them to take home. These puppets also perform wardrobe changes and character changes in a split second, for example spinning in place while turning from a warrior into a princess. 

3.Appreciate the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom collaborate with the massive floats.

157 Re3 1 Hitachi Furyumono

The Hitachi Sakura Matsuri is held in front of Hitachi Station on Heiwa-dori, one of the top 100 locations for Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing in Japan. Over 100 trees stand over the floats and are lit up at night to cast a most beautiful atmosphere over the entire festival.

4.Catch the chance to see all four floats together, every seven years!

The whole roster of floats gathers only once every seven years when the Kamine Shrine has it's Grand Festival, or Daisairei. At the Daisairei, viewers have the luxurious experience of witnessing the floats perform in an almost contest-like style. Held from May 3rd to the 5th, the Daisairei includes performances by child dance teams known at Sasara, another specially selected local team featuring five children holding sacred weapons (that house the spirit of the local deity) riding horses in a procession that circles the city. Come check out the rare festivities, if you can. (The next Daisairei is in 2019)

Information (基本情報)

  • Festival Dates Hitachi Sakura Matsuri (Held annually in April)
    April 8th (Sat) to 9th (Sun), 2017.
  • Place Held around JR Hitachi Station
  • General Participation Viewing only
  • International Reception and Info. Pamphlets with QR codes that take you to foreign language sites are available
  • Wi-Fi Not available
  • Restrooms Available (Open public restrooms as well as temporarily built toilets)
  • Other useful Info. Not available
  • HP

    kankou-hitachi.jp/

  • Contact Hitachi Sakura Matsuri Executive Committee (Office part of Hitachi City Tourism and Produce Association)
    0294-24-7978

Rules & Manners(参加のルール&マナー)

The float spins around 180 degrees during performances so please keep a safe distance.
Arrows are shot from the stage towards the audience so please keep cautious.
Please follow the instructions of staff and police members during the festival.

Access Map (アクセスと地図)

Access to Hitachi City

[Nearest Station]
Hitachi Station on the JR Joban Line

Access to Venue:
Hitachi Sakura Matsuri
Heiwa-dori Street, in front of JR Hitachi Station. 15min walk from central exit of Hitachi Station.

AREA SIGHT

立春の前日は「節分」といって、二十四節気による旧年から新年への変わり目であることから重視されており、日本全国各地の神社仏閣等で豆まきが行われる。地元では“おせんげんさん”と呼ばれ多くの人から親しまれている静岡浅間神社の節分祭は、静岡市指定の無形民俗文化財であり、古き歴史を有し、さらに特殊神事として今に伝承されている。豆まきを体験できるのはもちろんのこと、おにやら棒で戸板を叩き、市中より悪鬼を追いはらう特殊神事が体験できる。

Tsunaki Koike
Writer