Japan is famous for its colourful and enriching events and festivals. Wherever you may be visiting in Japan with its array of both local (matsuri) and national festivals, you are sure to be close to a celebration or marked occasion of some sort.
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival
You may be thinking that "danjiri" sounds a bit like "dangerous," and with good reason! "Danjiri", portable shrines weighing 4 tonnes, are raced around the city by teams, sometimes crashing at corners.
There are lots of festivals featuring danjiri, or a portable shrine in Japan, but the one in Kishiwada is most famous for its dangerous performance. In this Osaka festival they tow danjiri carts very fast on the streets and sometimes crush at corners. Thirty- four danjiri, weighing as much as four tonnes, are taken around Kishiwada city, Osaka and 600,000 people visit the city to view them during the two-day festival.
The festival was started 300 years ago by the lord of Kishiwada castle to pray for a good harvest. Today, teams from each of the city’s wear uniforms and proudly pull their own danjiri, running or walking in rhythm to the music of the flutes, bells, and drums. The man called “daiku-gata” or a carpenter, is given the honour of dancing on top of the danjiri. The most exciting vantage points to watch the festival is at corners, as they try to turn at right angles without slowing down. Sadly, there have been deaths and injuries over the years of this high-paced festival.
At night, the city is lit with lanterns and the parade proceeds at a slower pace so you can better appreciate the danjiri floats’ elaborate designs. You’ll also find lots of stalls selling snacks and beverages on the streets.
Kishiwada city is in south Osaka, between Osaka city centre and Kansai International Airport. From Osaka, take Nankai Railway from Namba station and get off at Kishiwada station. It takes 25 minutes and cost only 480 yen. Danjiri pass nearby the station, but the best spots for viewing are located 10 to 20 minutes walk away which are called Kankan-ba and Konakara-saka (next to the City Hall).
Watch a video of this dangerous, high-paced festival on www.youtube.com.
Weekend in mid-SeptemberDates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.