Imari Tontenton Matsuri Festival, Saga

The “Imari Tontenton Matsuri Festival” performed over three days late in October in the Imari shrine in Imari-shi, Saga every year.
It is the heroic festival that the wild Mikoshi (miniature shrine) and Danjiri (a type of dashi (float) or danjiri used at shrine festivals) which rowdy people hold clash intensely, and the people of the district of Imari get used and familiar from young time.

It is the traditional festival of the Imari-shi as one of the Japan’s three biggest fight festivals. It is referred to also as “Imari Kunchi.” During the period of a festival, the sound of the drum of “Tontenton” is the signal for the start and the town is in full festival mode. The battle that Danjiri clashes with the wild Mikoshi intensely in several places of cities takes place.

The origin of this festival has two opinions. The first is that the opinion which festival argument of the Kokitsu-jinja Shrine which prays for a bumper crop, and the Totoshima-jinja Shrine which prays for a bumper fish crop makes the beginning, and the second is occurring as a festival of the Sino-Japanese War victory memory in 1895. But, the origin of this festival is not certain.

Before a battle, the wild Mikoshi is gone in procession at the head, sounding the sound of a drum and a shout.
When both shouts affect a signal by a drum of the fast rhythm, a battle begins.
The drum is beaten in Danjiri, until just before a mikoshi falls, and beating it is continued even after a performer gets down from Danjiri.

The climax of a festival is the last battle called “Kawa Otoshi” (dropping to the river) held in the evening of the final day. The brave figure which falls into the Imari river with both sides grappling together is the highlight. The game is determined by raising the Mikoshi on land, and to tell bad or good luck of the year. It is said that if the wild Mikoshi wins, it is a good harvest in the year, if the Danjiri wins, big catch.


Name:Imari Tontenton Matsuri Festival
Address:Tachibanacho 83 Imari, Saga 848-0027 Japan
Access:JR Chikuhi-sen Line “Imari-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)
Official site:

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