A festival said to inspire japan‘s love of robots and designated an Intangible Folk Culture Property
The Otsu Matsuri is a festival held in Otsu, a city located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. It is a festival that celebrates the rich cultural history of the Otsu area and is said to have inspired Japan’s love of robots. The festival takes place just before Sports Day, which is held on the second Monday of October. It is a colorful and vibrant celebration that attracts visitors from all over Japan.
The festival centers around the Tenson-jinja shrine, which is located near Otsu Station. To get to Otsu from Kyoto, you can take the JR Biwako line, which will take you to Otsu Station in about ten minutes. From there, it is just a short five-minute walk to the shrine. The festival is easily accessible and attracts a large number of visitors every year.
One of the main highlights of the Otsu Matsuri is the parade of hikiyama floats. There are thirteen floats in total, each beautifully decorated and paraded around town. What sets Otsu Matsuri apart from other festivals is that these floats also display karakuri mechanized dolls. Karakuri dolls are traditional Japanese mechanical dolls that are controlled by a series of gears and springs. They are incredibly intricate and are a testament to Japan’s craftsmanship and engineering skills.
The tradition of using karakuri dolls in the Otsu Matsuri is said to have inspired Japan’s modern love of robots. The festival participants also hand out chimaki rice cakes for good luck. Chimaki is a traditional Japanese rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves and is considered a symbol of good fortune.
Another unique aspect of the Otsu Matsuri is the presence of tanuki, or raccoon dogs. Tanuki are often seen in statues outside bars and izakaya in Japan, and they are known for their mischievous and clever nature. In the Otsu Matsuri, the tanuki takes on a central role and is considered the parade leader. According to legend, in 1596, a salt vendor joined the Otsu Matsuri parade wearing a tanuki mask. He danced every year until he could no longer dance, and since then, the parade has been led by a karakuri tanuki doll.
The Otsu Matsuri is one of Lake Biwa’s three great events. Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and is located in Shiga Prefecture. The other two events are the Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival and the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival. These festivals were started to celebrate the prosperity of the city and have become an integral part of the local culture.
The Otsu Matsuri not only showcases the cultural heritage of the Otsu area but also brings the community together. It is a time for people to come together and celebrate their shared history and traditions. The festival is known for its lively atmosphere, with music, dance, and colorful costumes. It is a feast for the senses and a joyous celebration of life.
In conclusion, the Otsu Matsuri is a festival that celebrates the rich cultural history of the Otsu area and is said to have inspired Japan’s love of robots. It is a colorful and vibrant celebration that attracts visitors from all over Japan. The festival features a parade of hikiyama floats, which display karakuri mechanized dolls, and is led by a karakuri tanuki doll. It is one of Lake Biwa’s three great events and is a time for the community to come together and celebrate their shared heritage. The Otsu Matsuri is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the rich cultural traditions of Japan.
Address And Maps Location:
1-2-27 Chuo, Otsu-shi, Shiga-ken