Tanzan Shrine Kemari Festival


Sakurai City, Nara Pref.

Afternoon Join Kansai

About the festival

Sitting quietly in the mountains of Nara Prefecture is the Tanzan Shrine, the home of this Spring/Autumn festival. Deep in roots, this festival brings back to life a game called Kemari that the royal family members used to play 1,400 years ago. The Tanzan Shrine is where the soul of Fujiwara Kamatari—founder of Japanese politics in the 7th century—is enshrined. Fujiwara was planning a political reform with the emperor of the time, and it was through Kemari that the two met. The game Kemari came to Japan through China. The object is to keep a leather ball called "mari" from touching the ground using only one's feet, like juggling, or lifting, in western football/soccer. At this festival, viewers can join in on the fun after viewing the official performers.

Things to do

1. Feel the Heian period through the vibrant costume and elegant movements

107 Re1 2 Kemarisai

The colorful attire that the Kemari performers wear go splendidly well with both the lushes green mountains of Spring and the fully changed leaves of Autumn. They were worn by the royal family during the Heian period 1,400 years ago and each color represented the person's level in social rank. There are set rules and manners to the game so look forward to watching some brilliant actions. 

2. Experience Kemari yourself! More than the win, it's the respect.

107 Re1 1 Kemarisai

After the official performers finishing playing, visitors can try the game out as well. It is interesting to know that there is no winning or losing in Kemari. The main point is to serve a ball that is easy to receive. What an interesting idea. Give the game a shot with respect to your partners!

3. Check out the elaborate gardens!

From 11:30am on the 3rd, the Kemari performances start in the Kemari Garden within the shrine grounds. Players choose their standing positions in the circle according to bamboo poles located in four corners of the garden. There is an urn buried in the center of the garden that increases the sound of the Kemari being kicked. Enjoy the beautiful garden along with unique sounds.

Information (基本情報)

  • Festival Dates November 3rd (Sun), 2018 and April 29th (Mon), 2019
    Held annually on April 29th and November 3rd.
  • Place 319 Tounomine, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture (Tanzan Shrine)
  • General Participation Visitors can also experience Kemari after the performance.
  • International Reception and Info. There is a simple pamphlet offered in English.
    Questions that foreign visitors may have, are also sometimes answered through phone interpreting through the help of staff.
    Feel free to ask the staff.
  • Wi-Fi Unavailable
  • Restrooms Two restrooms
  • HP


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  • Contact Tanzan Shrine

Rules & Manners(参加のルール&マナー)

In order to keep things moving smoothly, please do not stand in the way of the procession and refrain from asking performers to stop.

Access Map (アクセスと地図)

Access to Sakurai City

[Nearest Station]
Sakurai Station on the JR Kintetsu Railway
Line: JR Man-yo Mahoroba Line and Kintetsu Osaka Line

[Nearest Bust Stop]
Tanzan Jinja
Line: Tounomine Line

The stop for Tanzan Shrine from the Sakurai Station (south exit) is the last stop on the route. It is a 5min walk to the shrine from the bus stop.

Tsunaki Koike
Grew-up in the country side. Loving Karaoke, Marathon & Eating.