The biggest annual festival of Iizaka Hachiman shrine (Kenka matsuri)
This famous festival has 300 years of history.
Every year, this festival is held on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday there is a ceremony called “Igyo-shiki. In the ceremony, the god in the main shrine (Hachiman shrine) is moved to a small shrine.
The highlight of the entire festival is definitely Saturday. On the day, children from 8 districts carry their floats and march around the town from morning to evening. Then in the evening, beautiful floats decorated with lanterns from 6 districts appear in the town center. Those floats are not carried by children but men beating taikos (Japanese traditional drum) very aggressively.
The small shrine and the 6 floats march around the town and at last get to the entrance of the Hachiman shrine.
When the floats get to the entrance, they start fighting intensively.
When the small shrine gets back to the main shrine, this festival ends.
Therefore, in order to stop the small shrine to enter the main one, the 6 floats try o block the small one, fighting other floats. Everybody in this town wants to enjoy the festival as long as possible.
The men carrying the floats have to beat the drums continuously because the sound of the drums are thought to be the heartbeat.
If they stop drumming, they are not qualified to continue to attend this festival.
On Sunday, there will be a ritual called “Kouchin-sai (ritual to heal the fatigue of the god)” and a ritual called “Senshuraku Shimaidaiko (Drum activity to wrap up the entire festival)”
Come to lizaka, to experience this super exciting festival!