Takayama is bathed in the soft glow of lantern light as the elegant Takayama Autumn Festival takes place over two days, October 9 and 10, attracting thousands of visitors. This festival, held in and around Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, is one of the Tokai region’s most ornate festivals and is a celebration of the harvest and the beginning of preparations for winter.
To reach Takayama, one can take the Hida Limited Express from Nagoya, which leaves every hour and takes about two hours and 20 minutes. Additionally, Takayama is connected to Toyama by regular trains and highway buses, and from Matsumoto by highway bus. With its convenient transportation options, travelers from all over can easily access this vibrant festival.
The Takayama Autumn Festival is known for its 11 beautifully crafted floats that are paraded through the town. These floats are so intricately designed that they are often likened to the Yomeimon Gate at Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Each float is a work of art, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of the local artisans. Visitors can marvel at the stunning details and vibrant colors of these floats as they make their way through the streets of Takayama.
One of the highlights of the festival is the traditional dances performed by marionettes atop the floats. Puppeteers bring these marionettes to life, gracefully moving them to the rhythm of the music. These performances usually take place mid-morning and early afternoon, allowing visitors to witness the beauty and grace of this traditional art form.
As night falls on the 9th of October, the evening festivities begin with a procession of lantern-lit yatai floats. These floats, adorned with hundreds of lanterns, create a magical atmosphere as they make their way through the town. The soft glow of the lanterns illuminates the streets, casting a warm and inviting light on the festival.
For those who are unable to attend the festival, there is still an opportunity to view the floats year-round. The Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan is an exhibition hall that displays floats from past festivals. For a small fee, visitors can rent English audio guides that provide detailed information about the history of the festival and the design of the floats. This allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the festival, even if they are unable to witness it firsthand.
The Takayama Autumn Festival is not only a celebration of the harvest and a showcase of traditional arts and crafts, but it is also a time for the community to come together and give thanks. Tens of thousands of people from near and far gather in Takayama to experience this vibrant and lively festival. The streets are filled with laughter, music, and the aroma of delicious food as locals and visitors alike join in the festivities.
In addition to the festival itself, Takayama offers a charming and picturesque setting for visitors to explore. The town is known for its well-preserved traditional buildings and narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants. Strolling through the streets of Takayama, one can immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the region.
During the festival, the floats are displayed in various locations throughout the town. For detailed information on where to find the floats during the day and the schedule of the festival proceedings, visitors can visit one of the local tourist information centers. The staff at these centers are knowledgeable and friendly, providing visitors with all the information they need to make the most of their time in Takayama.
The Takayama Autumn Festival is a unique and enchanting experience that should not be missed. It is a celebration of the harvest, a showcase of traditional arts and crafts, and a time for the community to come together and give thanks. Whether you are a lover of culture and tradition or simply looking for a memorable experience, the Takayama Autumn Festival offers something for everyone. So mark your calendars and begin the countdown to this extraordinary event.
Address And Maps Location:
178 Sakura-machi, Takayama-shi, Gifu-ken