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A ‘Battle of the Shrines’ is about to take Japan’s Best Hot Spring Town by Storm

September 28, 2018 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Whilst a quaint, peaceful hot spring town may not be where you would usually expect battle-based activity, Kinosaki’s Autumn Festival is proof that there is more to Japan’s best hot spring town than fabulous onsens and serene old-world charm.

 In a country that is home to as many unique, entertaining and often quirky festivals as Japan, one may be hard-pressed to find one that truly stands out but when it comes to originality, Kinosaki Autumn Festival sure ticks all the boxes.

 Held on 14th and 15th October every year, the Autumn Festival or ‘Danjiri Festival’ as it is commonly referred to in Japan, is not only one of Kinosaki’s largest but also one of its most animated events but whilst the event’s nickname ‘Fighting Shrine Festival’ may conjure up an impression of roughness, the appeal of this celebration goes way deeper with its celebrations honouring the town’s deep-rooted onsen tradition.

 At the start of the festival, a portable shrine (‘mikoshi’) is carried to Kinosaki’s seven public hot springs with prayers offered for the prosperity of each, whilst a large wooden cart in the shape of a shrine (‘danjiri’) follows the mikoshi, acting as its protector.

 Four major portable shrines, each representing a part of the town, are then paraded through the streets meeting in the middle to battle – the climax of the festival.

 “The Kinosaki Autumn Festival is yet another proof of Kinosaki’s incredible diversity and its unrivalled ability to impress and surprise visitors” says Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director ofTourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.

“Seeing the quaint willow-lined streets transform into a celebration of the most unique, vibrant and extraordinary rituals and traditions is a simply unforgettable experience introducing travellers to a side to Kinosaki that they may not have known about before” she adds.

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