Since the old days, Japanese people have often regarded mysterious phenomena and occurrences in life as work of the “Yokai” monsters. Unlike ghosts, Yokai monsters have physical bodies, and are often portrayed in Anime as well. They come in diverse ranges, such as those who pull pranks on people, and others that bring us fortune. For the Japanese, Yokai monsters are frightening yet familiar beings. Yamashiro town—the festival’s location—is a well-known origin of many Yokai monsters, where in fact over 60 different kinds of Yokai have been handed down in folklore. The highlight of the Yokai Matsuri festival which began in the year 2000 in order to preserve the legend of these beings, is the parade of people wearing all types of Yokai monster suits. Another fun activity is to visit the many monuments set up at different locations across town indicating where Yokai monsters once appeared.
Here in this town surrounded by nature, people used Yokai stories to keep children away from dangerous areas such as forests and cliffs. Furthermore, the tradition of Yokai folklore has protected people from natural disasters and preserved their respect for the gods of the mountain. Therefore, the lives of the local people are deeply connected to Yokai monsters. Many attractions exist throughout the town, such as the “Yokai Yashiki” (haunted house) where monsters are exhibited, and monuments indicate where Yokai monsters appeared. Enjoy the beautiful Yokai filled valley!
The Yokai parade begins at around 1:40 in the afternoon. The monster suits hand-crafted by the local residents reveal to us the frightening yet friendly nature of the Yokai. Come and watch the many monsters form a parade. Furthermore, international monsters (dressed in outfits) are also welcome to join the parade. Who knows, maybe humans won't be the only ones hyping up the international scene!
JR Oboke Station on the JR Dosan Line
Former Kamimyo Elementary School
Address: Kamimyo, Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi City, Tokushima Pref.
The festival venue is located 90 min from the station on foot. It takes 20 min by taxi.