Since the Edo period, the Hyoge Matsuri has been a time to show gratitude for water and to pray for a rich harvest.
The Asano region, where the festival is held, suffered from water shortage during the Edo period due it's geographical inability to retain water. It was a samurai named Heiroku Yanobe who created the water reserve Shin-ike (as well as Japan's first large-scale piping system), and the festival was started as a way of remembering his virtue.
What sets this festival apart from the rest is the way the dancers "clown around" (the meaning of the word "hyoge" in this region's dialect) during the approx. 2km parade to Shin-ike and the colorful make up they wear. It's also worth noting that the costumes and "sacred" objects featured in the mikoshi (portable shrine) parade are all made from agricultural crops and everyday house hold supplies.
The official set of ritual objects are on Kagawa Prefecture's list of tangible folk cultural assets, while the portable shrine procession is designated as one of Takamatsu City's intangible folk cultural assets.
Enjoy this eccentric festival of Kagawa Prefecture!
Locals carry a mikoshi approx. 2km all the way to the Shin-ike reservoir, and upon arrival, roughly 4:00pm, the adult men dive into the deep waters (about shoulder level) along with the mikoshi. This is the most exciting part of the festival.
The word "hyoge" refers to being humorous and clowning around. People with face paint that makes them look absolutely ridiculous literally clown around and joke while parading around town. The objects and costumes used in the festival are also made from crops and house hold commodities. Check out beards made from plants called Shuro (hemp-palm) and jackets made from woven bags of livestock feed.
Please don't enter the private property along the parade route.
Please refrain from blocking or interrupting the procession.
Access to Takamatsu City
JR Takamatsu Station
Address: Asano regional education center, 1968-15 Asano, Kagawa-cho
[Nearest Bus Stop]
Kotoden Bus, Kawahigashi stop
(on the Shinoe Line, or Nissei Newtown Line
5min walk from Kawahigashi bus stop to Kagawa town hall. There is a 5min free shuttle bus from there to the starting point.
(10min drive from the Takamatsu Airport to the Kagawa town hall, by taxi.)