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Takayama Autumn Festival Tour

July 29, 2013 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

During Autumn 2013/2014, All Japan Tours will guide you through: Japan In Depth (Reverse) – Takayama Autumn Festival Tour.

This tour is a deluxe series that consists of 14 days and 13 nights of traveling. It give you an opportunity to experience one of the three largest festivals in Japan while enjoying Japan’s popular autumn leaves viewing, as well as an in-depth exploration of Japan’s three main islands by taking you from Osaka to Himeji, Kurashiki, Hiroshima, Kyushu Island, Shikoku Island, cross the inland sea to Honshu Island, visit Nara, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, Mt. Fuji, then finish in Tokyo.

The highlight of the tour is Takayama Autumn Festival or it is also called Hachiman Matsuri – one of the three largest festivals in Japan.

The Autumn festival is centered on the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine and is referred to as the Hachiman Festival. It is held annually after the crops are harvested and on October 9th and 10th, local residents are prompted to start their winter preparations. The greatest attractions are the eleven yatai floats which are designated as significant intangible folk cultural assets. The people who live in the northern half of downtown Takayama worship at this shrine. Thought to be around 400 years old, the festival is particularly beloved because of the fantastic floats that are displayed and pulled around the town during the festival.

The actual festival starts on October 7th, when the order of the procession of festival floats is decided. On October 9th, after the ritual ceremony at the shrine, a festival procession with hundreds of town’s people wearing traditional costumes begins. During the daytime, all Autumn Festival floats are pulled out, and the marionette performance is dedicated to the gods.

All floats are beautifully decorated with carvings, dolls, elaborately woven thick curtains, lacquer ware, and bamboo blinds. These exquisite decorations are found not only on the outside where they are seen by the crowds, but also on the inside, such as under the roof and behind the doors, where elaborate carvings can be found. In the past, different communities that owned different floats used to compete with each other over who could make the most beautiful float, which is why Takayama is now home to 25 of these extremely high-level works of craftsmanship built by the famed “Artisans of Hida.” 11 of these are used during the Autumn Festival.

The yatai floats are lined up before dusk, and once the town becomes veiled in the evening darkness, as many as 100 chochin lanterns are lit on each of the floats. The unique ornaments of the yatai floats look even more resplendent in the darkness of the night. The marionette performance that takes place on the “Hotei-tai” float is another highlight of the event, as the puppet masters bring the marionette to life in a display that awes the crowd.

The processions featuring hundreds of people in traditional Japanese garb also transport you to the past, and as the most famous festival in the area, the Takayama Autumn Festival is one not to be missed!

*You are welcome to visit our homepage for more details on the Takayama Autumn Festival Tour 2013/2014.

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