“Iizaka Kenka Matsuri” is a “fight festival” that bumps “katsugi-yatai” (a large float used to carry drums at a festival) violently in the shrine’s precinct. The “fight festival” which bumps mikoshi (portable shrine) and dashi (festival float) vigorously is done in various parts of Japan. Among them, “Iizaka Kenka Matsuri” is said to be “one of the three biggest fighting festivals in Japan” with Kishiwada’s “Danjiri” and Kakunodate’s “Oyama-bayashi”.
There are many other fighting festivals throughout the country, such as “Niihama Taiko Matsuri”, “Tontenton Matsuri”, “Nada Fights Festival”, but the one that has a reputation as an energetic and spectacular festival is “Iizaka Kenka Matsuri “.
Among them, “miyairi” (ending of a festival by bringing portable shrines or floats back to the shrine) to be held on the second day of the festival is the biggest attraction of this festival. There, the scene which is the reason why it is called “fight festival” is unfolded. In miyairi, mikoshi comes back to the shrine with katsugi-yatai carrying the drum that plays the festival music. When mikoshi returned to the shrine, the festival was over, so excited young people hit the festival float and made not to let the shrine back to the shrine. It seems to be why it began to hit festival floats with each other. However, now it is a festival where the katsugi-yatai are bumped into each other in the precincts of the shrine.
The weight of “katsugi-yatai” is about 1 ton and the length of the carrying rod is 7 meters. There are one large drum and two small drums with kotougi-yatai along with the performers. Approximately ninety men carry this, hit hard against the opponent katsugi-yatai, jerking or pushing under the opponent’s katsugi-yatai and pushing up. Still, in katsugi – yatai, drums are continued to beat, but if the drum can not beat, or the stick breaks, or the lantern ‘s light goes out, it is “the game is over”.
These collisions will be held in two places within the precincts of Hachimanjinja Shrine and will be contested in 6 districts. In addition to pushing with force, that technique is also a point of highlight.
“Iizaka Kenka Matsuri” (Fight Festival) is the festival that is famous as one of Japan’s three greatest “Kenka Matsuri” (Fight Festival) along with “Danjiri Festival” of Osaka Kishiwada, “Oyama Bayashi Festival” of Akita Kakunodate.
Iizaka Hot Spring which is one of the three Oshu (Northern Honshu, the region encompassing Mutsu and Dewa provinces) hot spring. Iizaka Kenka Matsuri is an alias of the annual festival of Iizaka Hachimanjinja Shrine nearby.
This annual festival is a festival to be held for three days mainly on first Saturday of October.
It is a festival which appreciating God for Gokokuhojo (bumper crop) and praying for a parishioner veneration person’s prosperity.
Although the history of the festival is not known clearly, it is a traditional festival which considers Gion in Kyoto as origin and which continues about 300 years.
There is “Mikoshi togyo” (Shinto ritual where a mikoshi (portable shrine) parades to pray for happiness of people lining the path of the parade) in this festival.
This Mikoshi makes a tour of inspection in the town, and follow it with six taiko-yatai (drum festival car) when it is night and leave Otabisho (a place to install a portable shrine).
The taiko-yatai entering into the precincts of the shrine with the Mikoshi in front intensely clashes into the yatai blocking it to enter the shrine.
This is a reason called “Kenka Matsuri” (Fight Festival).
In the fantastic space where a candle shakes, the state of beating drums loudly and vibrating the air, it’s simply overwhelming.
The collision of miyairi (to enter shrine) performed on the 2nd day is the most famous for Iizaka Kenka Matsuri.
It is the highlight in which turn miyairi is performed and which town’s yatai wins.
In addition, the performance of the mikoshi of each town can be enjoyed in front of the Iizaka Onsen station.
|Name:||Iizaka Kenka Matsuri (Fight Festival)|
|Address:||Iizakamachi Hachiman 6 Fukushima, Fukushima 960-0201 Japan|
|Access:||Fukushima-Kotsu Iizaka-sen Line “Iizaka Onsen-eki” station (10 minutes walk)|
|Tel:||(+81)24-542-2560 (Hachimanjinja Shrine office)|
|Price / Charge:||Free|