Shiogama minato matsuri

(塩竈みなと祭)

Shiogama City, Miyagi Pref.

Afternoon See Tohoku

About the festival

Shiogama Minato Matsuri began right after the ending of the Second World War in hopes of reviving the industry and well-being of the people of Shiogama. It is now regarded as one of the three major boat festivals of Japan. Held on Marine Day (a national holiday), the festival features mikoshi floats parade through town, and then at sea, sacred shrine boats decorated as dragon and phoenix parade over the sea along with approximately 100 accompanying boats. Watching the boats sail by with Matsushima (regarded as one of the Three Views of Japan) in the background makes you feel like you are looking at a Heian period picture roll. Even on land, parades are held all across town, with the festival merging both land and the sea. Approximately 7,000 fireworks are lit over Shiogama port at the pre-festival fireworks held the night before, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. 

056 Reh Shiogama Minato Matsuri

Things to do

1. Watch the dragon and phoenix cross the sea!

056 Re1 1 Shiogama Minato Matsuri

Deities of Shiwahiko and Shiogama Shrines each cross Matsushima bay, riding the dragon and phoenix boats. The boats are decorated with strips of five colors and flags, and the bow of the boats are decorated with—as the name suggests—a phoenix and a dragon. The phoenix boat is loved by many, as it is used in an Australian tobacco design, magazine covers, etc. 

2. Watch the fireworks illuminate both the sky and the sea.

056 Re2 1 Shiogama Minato Matsuri

During the pre-festival, fireworks are lit over the ocean. Feel the sea breeze while viewing the fireworks in the sky, and in the sea as reflections. (an hour from 8 pm)

3. Watch the mikoshi climb up and down the tall, steep stone steps

056 Re3 1 Shiogama Minato Matsuri

We wish for you to view the land parade, in addition to the mikoshi's sea crossing. Especially, the sight of the shrines' parishioners climbing down the steep 202 stone steps of Shiogama Shrine's "Omotezaka", carrying the mikoshi weighing approximately 1 ton, is a must see. After that, the mikoshi parades the city towards the wharf where its procession boat awaits. After the sea-parade, the portable mikoshi shrine is greeted by the people as it climbs back up the stairs. Experience the somber atmosphere as well. 

4. Thank the divine ocean and enjoy some seafood

056 Re4 1 Shiogama Minato Matsuri
056 Re4 2 Shiogama Minato Matsuri
056 Re4 3 Shiogama Minato Matsuri

Many food stalls are open near the festival location. The festival also is a celebration held in wish for good catch, so don't miss out on the seafood here. Fish or grilled skewered tuna are among our recommendations. Make local sake and kamaboko (fish cake) your souvenir!

Information (基本情報)

  • Festival Dates July 14th (Sun), 2018: Shiogama Minato Matsuri Pre-festival Fireworks
    Fireworks display (8 to 9 pm), festival gathering (3 to 9 pm)
    15th (Mon/Marine Day=national holiday): Shiogama Minato Matsuri
    Mikoshi procession from 10:30 am, sea parade departure from 12 noon, on-land parade from 12:30 pm, mikoshi return to the shrine at 6:15 pm.
    *Listed times are tentative
    Held annually on the 3rd Monday of July (Marine Day) and the day before
  • Place Shiogama City (Shiwahiko Shrine, Shiogama Shrine, downtown area, Shiogama Port area) etc.
  • General Participation Available
  • International Reception and Info. Unavailable
  • Wi-Fi Available at:
    Shiogama City Kaigan Street parking lot (3-14 Kaigan-dori, Shiogama City): One min walk from JR Hon-Shiogama Station
    Marine Gate Shiogama (17-11 Ojimacho, Shiogama City): 10 min walk from JR Hon-Shiogama Station
    Shiogama City Tourism & Industry Information Center (5-7 Kaigan-dori, Shiogama City): In front of the "Shrine walkway exit" (Jinja-sando guchi) of Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line)
  • Restrooms Available
  • HP

    http://kankoubussan.shiogama.miyagi.jp/

    map
    http://kankoubussan.shiogama.miyagi.jp/pdf/english.pdf

  • Contact Shiogama Minato Matsuri Partnership Organization
    022-364-1165

Rules & Manners(参加のルール&マナー)

There are areas that are off-limits due to earthquake-related quay wall restoration.
There are areas that are off-limits near the festival location. Do not get close to the dangerous areas, and follow the instructions given by security guards and police officers in the case of earthquake and/or emergency situations.

Access Map (アクセスと地図)

5 min walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line)
35 min by car from JR Sendai Station

Emiko Izawa
Writer
Born in Shizuoka. I love Sushi, Sake, Shrine, Stationary and Stage!