Every year on the 26th and 27th of September, this festival has been held at the Hotaka Shrine for over 300 years. It is a time to pray for peace throughout the land, a rich harvest of grain and the happiness and prosperity of the shrines parishioners.
On the 26th, from 8:00pm is the Yoi (early evening) Matsuri. In different parts of the town, as well as on shrine grounds, large floats called Ofune (boat) decorated with traditional Hotaka dolls are put on display. The individually and painstakingly created dolls, with rich expression, are the result of generations of local techniques and depict important scenes from Japanese history and mythology.
On the 27th, from 3:00 in the afternoon, the main event commences. Five of the boat shaped floats are dragged into place and crashed into each other.
Don't miss this spectacular offering performed by the teams of parishioners with all their heart.
At the Yoi Matsuri held on the 26th, the "boat floats" are put on display depicting historical moments throughout Japanese history and mythology. It is really a sight to see these brilliant dolls made from generations of local crafting techniques. Each and every one is made by the hands of masters and have such rich expressions that they seem like they could come to life at any moment!
At the main event on the 27th, after the boats are paraded around and set in place, get ready for some intense head-on crashing. There are three "children" boats, and two "adult" boats. Twelve meters in length and six in height, these massive adult boats put on quite the powerful spectacle that is not to be missed.
Please watch from a distance or from the designated areas when the crashing of the boats begins.
Access to Azumino City
JR Hotaka Station on the Oito Line
Address: 6079 Hotaka, Azumino City, Nagano Prefecture
3min walk from JR Hotaka Station.