Showing posts with label Yamagata. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yamagata. Show all posts


Yamagata Prefecture


. Regional Festivals - From Hokkaido to Okinawa .


Yamagata Prefecture - 山形県

located in the Tōhoku region on Honshu island.
Its capital is Yamagata.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Yamagata - Entries of this BLOG .


. WKD : Yamagata Festivals - main INFO .

source :

Shinjo Matsuri 新庄まつり Shinjo Festival

Held since 1755, the festival was established by the local Daimyō (feudal lord) to lift the spirits of the common people after a particularly bad harvest. The current incarnation of the festival includes traditional dancing, a reinactment of the first "Daimyō Parade", traditional festival vending stalls, and the Yattai Parade.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


External LINKS :

Yamagata Summer Festivals
Hanagasa Festival (August 5 - 7)
Onogawa hot spring firefly festival (June 18 to July 31)
Sakata Fireworks (August 6)
Shinjo Festival (August 24 - 26)
source :

- Reference -

Related words

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan - GANGU . 

. Regional Dishes from Japan - WASHOKU .

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Tsuruoka Tenmangu Yamagata


Tsuruoka Tenmangu Festival
(Tsuruoka Tenmangu Sai)

***** Location: Tsuruoka, Yamagata
***** Season: Early Summer
***** Category: Observance


bakemono matsuri 化物祭 (ばけものまつり)
monster festival

Tsuruoka Tenmangu Sai
Tsuruoka Tenmangu Festival

May 25

At the Tenmangu Shrine in Tsuruoka town, Yamagata.

Men and women dress up in fancy costumes and parade in the town.
Dressed with faces covered and a large straw hat, they speak no word and pour sake ricewine or soft drinks for the onlookers.
Is someone can take part in this parade without being recognized by anyone, his/her wish will be granted.

In former times, these "monsters" used to enter the homes of parishioners and invite all to drink with them.

This festival reminds of the time when Sugawara Michizane was taken to exile.
People in Kyoto did not dare to show compassion for him, so they did not speak and dressed up and covered their faces when he was paraded through the town, to show their sympathy for him.


. Sugawara Michizane 菅原道真 .
Tenman-Gu in Dazaifu 大宰府の天満宮

The shrine in Yamagata was founded in 1603 by Lord Mogami Yoshiaki 最上義光, near the West Gate of his castle, to protect it from evil influence.
It is dedicated to Michizane, Deity of Learning, but also to pray for a good harvest, protection from fire and disaster and lead a happy life.
Sailors pray for a safe trip 渡海無事.
Prayers for rain (amagoi 雨乞い) were also held here many times in the past

. . . . .

例祭 5月25日
祈年祭 4月15日 Kinen sai, toshigoi no matsuri
新嘗祭 11月25日 Niiname sai

恒例祭 kooreisai

 初天神 1月25日 First Tenjin Ceremony
 天神講感謝祈願祭 8月25日
Tengu dance and lion dance are offered.

. Japanese HP of the shrine


Tsuruoka Town (鶴岡市, Tsuruoka-shi) is a city located in the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.
The city is located on the coast of Yamagata Prefecture bordering the Sea of Japan and has some locally popular beaches such as Yunohama and Sanze.

Tsuruoka is known within Japan for "dadacha-mame" (だだちゃ豆), a brand of soybeans, which have been called "the king of edamame"; they are also used for other products such as nattō and in manjū.
There are two theories as to the origin of the name: one is that it derives from dadacha, the Shonai dialectical word for "father" – gagacha is the dialectical word for "mother", while the other is that the beans came from Date, Fukushima, and were originally called Date-no-chamame, which became Date-chamame and then Dadacha-mame.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. WASHOKU : Dadacha Beans

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

鶴岡天神祭 Tsuruoka Tenjin Festival
Tsuruoka Tenjin Ema Parade 大絵馬パレード

source : Enjoy Shonai

. Ema 絵馬 Votive Plaques, Votive Tablets .


Related words

***** . Ghosts (yookai, yuurei, bakemono)  

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Yamagata Festivals INFO


. Regional Festivals - From Hokkaido to Okinawa .


Yamagata Festivals

***** Location: Yamagata
***** Season: Each month
***** Category: Observance


source :

Heisei Nabe Gassen Cook Off (Tendo City)
At this event devoted to the Japanese style of hot pot cooking called nabe, you can taste a wide range of nabe from not only within Yamagata but also from the entire Northeastern Tohoku region of Japan. There are even some overseas varieties of this originally Japanese dish.

Sasano Kannon Hatsu Ju-shichi-do Matsuri
(Yonezawa City)
January 17th
There are booths selling traditional arts and crafts including Sasano Ittobori wood carvings at this annual festival of the Sasano Kannon Temple.

Sakata Nihonkai Kandara Matsuri (Sakata City)
The 4th Saturday and Sunday in January
Experience the taste of Shonai at this festival by eating dongara jiru, a local cod stew dish found only in this region. During this festival, the streets of Sakata are lined with booths and venders with generation after generation of history serving their own unique specialty foods

Nihonkai Kandara Matsuri (Tsuruoka City)
The 3rd Sunday in January
During this festival, you can enjoy the taste of dongara jiru, a local cod stew dish often eaten during the winter in the Shonai region.

Yaya Matsuri (Shonai Town)
A Sunday in Mid-January
Boys between the ages of 5 and 14 are showered with cold water during this unique festival that takes places during the dead of winter at the Chigawara Hachiman Shrine.



Zao Juhyo Matsuri (Yamagata City)
Late-January to Early-February
This festival of fire and ice takes place during the best time of the year to view the juhyo, trees so covered in snow and ice that they are called the ice monsters of Mt. Zao.

Kurokawa Noh Ogisai
. Ōgisai 王祗祭(おうぎさい) OgiSai Festival .
(Tsuruoka City, Kushibiki District)
February 1st and 2nd
Pray for a bountiful new year while watching this Noh performance at the Kasuga Shrine.

Shinjo Yuki Matsuri (Shinjo City)
This snow festival held in the Mogami Park area is one of the biggest winter events of the Shinjo area.

Uesugi Yuki Toro Matsuri (Yonezawa City)
The 2nd Saturday and Sunday in February
Over 3,300 candle-lit snow lanterns decorate the area around Uesugi Temple and Matsugasaki Park during this festival.

Kasedori (Kaminoyama City)
February 11th
This unique festival, believed to prevent fires, is a folk tradition passed down in Kaminoyama. They welcome new participants!



Yamadera Basho Memorial Hall Special Exhibition: The Beauty of Hina Dolls (Yamagata City)
Late-February to Early-April
This is a special exhibition of Hina Dolls, which were introduced to Yamagata by safflower traders during the Edo period (1603-1868).

Tsuruoka Hina Monogatari (Tsuruoka City)
Early-March to Early-April
For one month in the spring, Hina dolls and other Hina crafts that were once owned by the Sakai clan are put on display throughout the city.

Sakata Hina Exhibition (Sakata City)
Late-February to Early-March
This is an exhibition of Hina dolls and adorable Udogawara clay dolls that were owned by various aristocratic families, including the Homma family, once the biggest landowner in Japan.

Kasuga Shrine Kinensai
Kurokawa Noh Performance
(Tsuruoka City, Kushibiki District)
March 23rd
This is a performance by the Kurokawa Noh group, which has been designated as a National Intangible Cultural Asset.



Yachi Hina Matsuri (Kahoku Town)
April 2nd and 3rd
This is an opportunity to see the Hina dolls once owned by wealthy merchant families in the Yachi area during the flourishing safflower trade of the Edo period (1603-1868).

Kajo Kanokai Cherry Blossom Viewing
(Yamagata City)
Cherry Blossom Season
The approximately 1,500 sakura trees in Kajo Park, located in the remains of Yamagata Castle, make this the best place to view the cherry blossoms in Yamagata City.

Tsuruoka Sakura Matsuri (Tsuruoka City)
Not only is Tsuruoka Park the best place to view cherry blossoms in Yamagata prefecture, it was selected as one of the top 100 cherry blossom viewing sites in all of Japan. It contains over 800 sakura trees that bloom beautifully in spring, including the popular Somei Yoshino variety.

Sakata Hiyoriyama Matsuri:
Flower Viewing and Tea Party (Sakata City)
Mid- to Late-April
Sakata City’s Hiyoriyama Park was selected as one of the top 100 city parks in Japan, and it boasts over 500 sakura trees, including the popular Somei Yoshino variety.

Human Shogi (Japanese Chess) (Tendo City)
A Saturday and Sunday in April
A human shogi match is held as part of the cherry blossom viewing festivities in Tendo City. People dressed as life sized shogi pieces on an enormous board become warriors who move according to the commands of professional Shogi players in this traditional festival.



Spring Broiled Herring Matsuri (Shinjo City)
April 28th to May 5th
As the snow melts and flowers bloom, the people of Shinjo City celebrate the end of the long winter in this festival, where they eat broiled herring and drink together in the pleasant spring weather.

Yonezawa Uesugi Matsuri (Yonezawa City)
April 29th to May 3rd
At this festival you can join an enormous crowd of excited and cheering spectators to witness a recreation, complete with antique flintlock guns, of the epic battle between 700 members of Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen’s armies that occurred during the Warring States period (1493-1573).

Yakushi Matsuri Gardeners’ Market (Yamagata City)
May 8th to May 10th
Vendors come from all over Japan to sell a wide variety of plants at the famous Gardeners’ Market of the Kokubunji Yakushi Temple Festival.

Sakata Matsuri (Sanno Matsuri) (Sakata City)
May 19th to May 21st
There is a parade of portable shrines and floats on a variety of themes, including the Great Lion that symbolizes Sakata, at this festival.

Tenjin Matsuri (Monster Festival) (Tsuruoka City)
May 25th
This festival of the Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Michizane Sugawara, a scholar and politician who lived from 845 to 903. People dress up like monsters and go on parade at this unique festival, which is one of the Three Great Festivals of Shonai.



Sakuranbo Matsuri (Sagae City)
Early-June to Early-July
Sagae City is a major producer of cherries, and the whole town becomes cherry themed during this festival with a wide variety of cherry related events.

Cherry Pit Spitting Grand Prix (Higashine City)
A cherry spitting competition is the main attraction at this event, which also features dance performances and sales of cherries and other local Higashine City produce.

Higashizawa Park Rose Matsuri (Murayama City)
Early-June to Early-July
Over 20,000 roses in over 750 varieties bloom at Higashizawa Park.

Ayame Matsuri (Nagai City)
June 10th to July 10th
There are over a million irises of 500 different varieties in the 3.3 hectacre Ayame Park.

Sakata Ajisai (Sakata City)
Late-June to Early-July
The Iimoriyama Park of the Ken Domon Museum of Photography is famous for its wide variety of hydrangea flowers.

. Domon Ken 土門拳 and temple Muro-Ji 室生寺 .



Mt. Gassan Opens (Nishikawa Town)
July 1st
Mt. Gassan, which has the highest peak of the three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan, is open to the public starting on this day. The new mountain greenery reflected in snow left over from the winter is beautiful.

Mt. Chokai Opens (Yuza Town)
July 1st
On this day, Mt. Chokai is opened to the public, and there is a prayer ceremony to wish for the safety of mountaineers. The view of the ocean from Mt. Chokai on a clear day is unforgettable.

Kurokawa Noh Outdoor Performance:
Suien no Noh (Tsuruoka City, Kushibiki District)
July 29th
The tradition of Kurokawa Noh theatre has been passed down for over 500 years by Yamagata farmers and is designated as a National Intangible Cultural Asset. Don’t miss this chance to see an outdoor performance of this traditional theatre group.

Sakekawa Kabuki Performance (Sakekawa Village)
July 2nd
This is a performance by the Sakekawa Kabuki theater group. Although its origins are in the Kabuki theatre of the Edo period (1603-1868), Sakekawa Kabuki has since evolved to become its own unique style of traditional Kabuki theatre.

Hijiori Hot Springs Opening Ceremony
(Okura Village)
July 14th
This is the opening ceremony for the Hijori Hot Springs, which were discovered in the year 807 AD.



Sakata Fireworks Show (Sakata City)
The 1st Saturday in August
This is an invigorating fireworks show that combines music and some of the biggest fireworks in Eastern Japan, including the Giant Star Mine.

Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri (Yamagata City)
August 5th to August 7th
This gorgeous festival brightens up three midsummer nights in Yamagata City, and it has become known as one of the four great festivals of the Japan’s Northeastern Tohoku region.

Akagawa Fireworks Exhibition (Tsuruoka City)
August 10th
Over 12,000 fireworks light up the night sky at this enormous fireworks exhibition.

Murayama Tokunai Matsuri (Murayama City)
Mid-August to Late-August
Children and adults alike create a variety of floats and dance wearing traditional costumes in this festival.

Shinjo Matsuri (Shinjo City)
August 24th to 26th
You can see portable shrines with a rich historical tradition at this festival, which is known for its gorgeous floats.



The Biggest Imoni Festival
In Japan
(Yamagata City)
The 1st Sunday of September
It takes an enormous six-foot tall pot to cook enough imoni (beef and taro potato stew) to feed everyone at this event, which symbolizes the coming of fall to the citizens of Yamagata. It truly is The Biggset Imoni Festival in Japan.
boiling sweet potatoes

Sagae Matsuri (Sagae City)
September 9th to 16th
A traditional form of horseback archery from the Kamakura Era (1185-1333) called yabusame takes central stage at this festival of Sakae City’s Hachimangu shrine. In addition to archers in traditional dress, there is even a yabusame archery event that is said to predict the outcome of the coming harvest.

Yachi Donga Matsuri (Kahoku Town)
The procession of a portable shrine and a performance by the Hayashi Buraku traditional dance group, which has been designated a National Intangible Cultural Asset, are among the many events at this festival revolving around Yachi’s Hachimangu Shinto Shrine.

Kaminoyama Onsen All Japan Scarecrow Festival
(Kaminoyama City)
Hundreds of scarecrows in all sorts of shapes and sizes are on display at this exhibition, from traditional scarecrows to imaginative modern designs.

Shirataka Ayu Matsuri (Shirataka Town)
Mid-September to Late-September
Catch young sweetfish from the Mogami River and fry them with salt or skewer them with miso sauce. Sharing a drink with a friend along the Mogami Riverside is unforgettable.



Chokaisan Jinroku Tsunokirisai (Yuza Town)
There is a traditional cutting of the deer antlers at this sacred event, which also serves as a prayer ceremony for traffic safety on the Chokai Blue Line Highway.

Nan’yo Chrysanthemum Matsuri (Nan’yo City)
Mid-October to Mid-November
The Nanyo Chrystanthemum Festival boasts the deepest historical, cultural, and artistic tradition of all the chrystanthemum festivals in Japan.

Takahata Winery: Fall Harvest Festival
(Takahata Town)
Early-October to Late-October
Celebrate the fall harvest at the Takahata Winery, where a variety of concerts and other events are held. Don’t forget to try some wine and nabe hot pot cooking.

Mogami Daisangyo Matsuri Produce Festival
(Shinjo City)
2nd Saturday and Sunday in October
Local agriculture and produce from all over the Mogami region is available in one place at this event. Come and experience the taste of autumn.

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
(Yamagata City)
A Week in Early October in Odd Years –
Next Festival in 2009
See the top documentary films and meet the top documentary filmmakers from around the world at this exciting international film event.



Kaminoyama Chrysanthemum Festival (Kaminoyama City)
October 17th to November 5th
Over 800 chrysanthemums decorate Kaminoyama City’s old castle district during this event.

Bukkoji Choyaku Nenbutsu (Tendo City)
November 17th
Bhuddist priests chant, ring bells, and perform a dance with an over 700 year history at this religious ceremony.

Kurokawa Noh Performance at the Kasuga Shrine Niinamesai (Tsuruoka City, Kushibiki District)
November 23rd
This harvest festival features a performance by the Kurokawa Noh, a traditional theatre group that has been designated a National Intangible Cultural Asset.

Start of the Season at the Tengendai Kogen Ski Area (Yonezawa City)
The Tengendai Kogen Ski Area is the first to open in Yamagata Prefecture every year. You can go skiing here starting around late November to get a head start on enjoying the newly fallen powder snow.



Horohado Year End Festival (Yonezawa City)
December 4th
Scantily clad men wake up early to pound rice to make mochi rice cakes at the Sengen Temple.

Takamatsu Kannon Hadaka Mochi Making-(Kaminoyama City)
Scantily clad men make mochi rice cakes at this year-end event that gives thanks for a bountiful harvest and prays for health and safety in the new year.
. Takamatsu Kannon Hadaka Mochitsuki 高松観音裸もちつき .

Dharma Doll Market: Kannon-sama no Otoshiya - Daruma Market
(Tsuruoka City)
December 17th
Shops selling auspicious objects associated with the New Year like Dharma dolls, decorated rakes, and battledore line the Nanoka-machi Kannon-do at this event, which is packed with the hustle and bustle of excited worshippers.

Shoreisai (Tsuruoka City, Haguro District)
December 31st to January 1st
This solemn religious ceremony, also called the New Year’s Eve Festival, is the most important of all the sacred rituals surrounding Mt. Haguro, the spiritual center of the three sacred mountains of the Dewa Sanzan.

Mt. Zao Ice Monster Light Up
(Yamagata City)
Late-December to Early-March
The ice monsters of Mt. Zao, trees so covered in snow and ice that that take on bizarre and monstrous shapes, are lit up beautifully during this event. The view from the ropeway at night is surreal.

Things found on the way


Kurokawa Noo 黒川能 (くろかわのう) Kurokawa Noh
. Ōgisai 王祗祭(おうぎさい) Ogi Sai Festival .

黒川能 水焔(すいえん)の能

. Kurokawa Noh and related kigo .

Related words

***** . WKD : Main Index  

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Kuromori Kabuki


Kuromori Kabuki

***** Location: Japan.Yamagata
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Observance


Kuromori Kabuki 黒森歌舞伎 (くろもりかぶき )
February 15 and 17.

This is an art form which has been handed down by the farmers in southern Sakata's Kuromori district for over 250 years. The kabuki play is offered to the god at Hie Jinja (Hie Shrine  日枝神社)  every February 15 and 17.

Although none of the performers are professional kabuki actors, the play itself is fairly easy to understand (compared to Noh, for example) and the fact that most of the people watching have someone in their family on stage adds to the festive atmosphere. Although the play begins around noon you should be prepared for winter cold since the stage is outdoors.

People in some Japanese farming communities performed their own version of kabuki plays, imitating the professional theatrical groups that began in the early 16th century. The plays were performed as entertainment, of course, and as part of local festivals. Village kabuki, rural kabuki evolved in different directions, depending on the region. Today, only a few groups are still active.

Kuromori Kabuki : more reference

CLICK for more photos CLICK for some more photos


A popular play for village kabuki is the story of the five bandits, Shiranami Gonin Otoko. Usually the villagers mix phrases of their own life into the speaches they have to give to get some laughter from their spectators.
The second photo shows these five, each with a large umbrella.

"Shiranami gonin otoko 白波五人男" is one of the most important works by Kawatake Mokuami, who specialized in writing Shiranamimono [works with thieves as heros of the stories]. It describes the fates of 5 thieves:
Nippon Daemon, Bentenkozo Kikunosuke, Nango Rikimaru, Akaboshi Juzaburo, and Tadanobu Rihei.

CLICk for more photos "Shiranami gonin otoko" performances center around 2 scenes: 'Hamamatsuya misesaki' scene in which Bentenkozo disguised as a samurai family's daughter carries out extortion, and 'Inasegawa seizoroi' scene in which the 5 thieves meet together. In many cases only these 2 scenes are perfomed, and the title "Benten musume meo no shiranami" is used.
Since Onoe Kikugoro 5th, 19 years old at the time, achieved great success when he first performed the role of Bentenkozo in 1862, each generation of Onoe Kikugoro has played this role successfully.
Read more HERE
© Japan Arts Council

. nusutto 盗人 / ぬすっと robbers / villains of Edo .
日本左衛門 Nihon Zaemon (Nippon Saemon) / 日本駄右衛門 Nippon Daemon . . .

Nooson Kabuki : 農村歌舞伎, mura kabuki 村歌舞伎 village Kabuki

Reference: Village Kabuki

Reference: Rural Kabuki

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Kuromori Kabuki ...
fivehundred freezing visitors
five freezing actors

Gabi Greve, February 2004

In Nagi, Okayama prefecture, close to my home in Japan, there is also an annual Village Kabuki Performance. The daughter of my neighbour married to Nagi, and they always invite us to enjoy the performance!
They are all very proud of it and love to shed tears at the moving stories of parents and children suffering in solitude ... and so forth.

Yokosen Kabuki in Nagi 横仙歌舞伎
Yokosen Kabuki in Nagi

Yokosen is a district of Nagi town. This special kabuki follows the tradition of Osaka kabuki. It is performed once in each season at a special hall built for this purpose in Nagi.

Related words

***** WKD . Kabuki and Kyogen

***** Gokoku hojo .. 五穀豊穣 (gokoku hoojoo)
Prayers for a Bountiful Harvest of the Five Grains


- #kuromorikabuki -