Kuwana Festival


Kuwana Festival (Kuwana matsuri)

***** Location: Mie, Japan
***** Season: Late Summer
***** Category: Observance


Kuwana matsuri 桑名祭 (くわなまつり) Kuwana Festival
ishitori matsuri 石採祭(いしとりまつり)Ishitori Festival
lit. "stone bringing festival"
ishitori shinji 石採神事(いしとりしんじ)
hiyoori matsuri 比予利祭(ひようりまつり)

First Saturday in August, at the shrine
Kasuga Taisha 春日神社 in Kuwana town.
It starts on the last day of July, Midnight, hence a late summer kigo.

Ishidori Matsuri (石取祭) can be literally translated from Japanese as "stone bringing festival."
It is a festival in Kuwana, located in Mie Prefecture. The festival starts on the first Saturday of August, at midnight, and runs throughout the weekend. Every town within the central part of the city has its own 3 wheeled, highly decorative festival cart. Each cart has a large taiko drum at the back and several kane along the sides. Each town has a particular sequence for each of those instruments, creating a unique and identifying sound.

Another identifying feature is the placement of the kakegoe, or shouts. Over the course of the weekend, the carts are pulled toward Kasuga Shrine for presentation, performing along the way. With over 30 carts with distinct rhythms, it has been said that the Kuwana festival is the loudest festival in Japan.

The festival originally started in the Edo period (1751-1764). It is believed to have originated from the custom of local worshipers selecting stones from the Machiya River to take to the local shrine. The stones were ceremoniously transported to the shrine on carts, while taiko and kane were played.

In 1981, the festival was designated as an asset of intangible culture for Mie Prefecture. In 2007, it was designated as a national asset of intangible culture.

Typically the towns are separated by age.
There is a children's group, young adult group, older adult group, and senior adult group.

Schedule of Events
March 6
The order of the carts is determined by lottery.

July 15-20th
This is the practice time with the festival carts. On the 20th, some carts will gather together in one particular town to end the practice session in camaraderie. They can not touch the carts again until Tatakidashi (叩き出し), which is at midnight between Friday night and Saturday morning before the First Sunday of August. Around this time, there is a gender-specific competition between the young adults of each town, though not all towns choose to compete.

July 20
There is a Kawarabarai Ceremony (川原祓式) at Machiya River to pray for a safe festival.

Weekend before the Festival
Each town readies its carts; polishing, cleaning, and setting up components. They also mark the festival path with streamers hanging from telephone lines, and otherwise prepare for the festival, though there is no drumming until Tatakidashi. 3 days before the Festival (Thursday)
Bamboo is gathered to decorate the festival meeting places.

2 days before the Festival (Friday)
Each age group attends their local shrine for the Okattsan Ceremony (お勝さん), which includes singing and praying. The children and adults, with the exception of the young adults, move the cart to its festival position, as was determined in March. Much later, the young adults return to the group after much drinking.

1 day before the Festival (Saturday)
Friday night leads up to Tatakidashi. At midnight, all the towns are signaled to start drumming simultaneously. After playing into the early hours of the morning, the group will retire, typically meeting once more at 10am.
The festival carts are paraded through their towns on this day, and once again it leads up to silence, awaiting the next Tatakidashi.

Festival Day (Sunday)
At 2am, there is another Tatakidashi. The taikos and kane start playing simultaneously and the carts are paraded around their town for another long night of celebration. The day is very similar to the previous one. During the day on Sunday, the young adults drink while once again the others put the cart into its specific order. Later, the young adults join in, and each town makes its way to Kasuga Shrine.
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source : www.kawashimaselkon.co.jp


Kuwana Sooja 桑名宗社 Kuwana Sosha
天津彦根命 Amatsu Hikone no Mikoto


桑名神社 Kuwana Jinja

中臣神社 Nakatomi Jinja

Often called "Kasuga san" 春日さん by the locals.

Annual Events

一月一日 歳旦祭
一月三日 元始祭
一月第二月曜日 成人祭
二月三日 節分祭(厄除祈願祭)
二月十八日 祈念祭
二月下旬 初午祭
三月下旬 春分祭
四月 勤学祭
五月中旬 合祀社祭
六月第一日曜 御籖占祭(祭車抽籖)

六月三十日 夏越大祓式
八月第一日曜 石取御神事 Ishitori Jinji
八月十六日 前期桑名祭
八月十七日 (桑名神社列大祭)

九月十七日 後期桑名祭
九月十八日 (中臣神社列大祭)
十一月三日 明治節祭(文化祭)
十一月十五日 髪置祭(七五三神事)
十一月二十三日 新嘗祭
十二月三十一日 大晦日大祓式
十二月三十一日 除夜祭

月次祭桑名神社 毎月十七日
中臣神社 毎月十八日

Amulets from the shrine

御守 amulets
kootsuu anzen 交通安全御守 Traffic Safety
yakuyoke kaiun 厄除開運御守 Warding off Evil
gakugyoo jooju 学業成就御守 Success at School
gookaku 合格御守 Passing an Examination
enmusubi えんむすび ストラップ Finding a Partner
anzan 安産御守 Easy Birth

source : www.kuwanasousha.org

source : Photo Gallery of the Shrine

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Yabusame sai 流鏑馬祭
at Riding Ground, Tado Taisha Shrine, Kuwana-shi.
November 23

11:30 A.M. A man on horseback equipped with a bow and arrow takes three consecutive shots at a target in accordance with Ogasawara School of etiquette.
. Tado-Taisha 三重 多度大社 .

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Visiting Kuwana, temple Hontooji 本当寺 / 本統寺 Honto-Ji, Hontoji
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Related words


. Grand Kasuga Shrine (春日大社, Kasuga-taisha) .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

- Mochi Kaido 餅街道 Road of the rice cakes -
From 桑名 Kuwana until the Ise Shrine.