Origin of “Niigata Festival” is in “Sumiyoshi Procession” which had been done since the Edo period. “Sumiyoshi Procession” is a festival of Tsumoto Shrine (now Hakusan Shrine) which got “Goshintai” (the body of a deity in the Shinto religion) from Sumiyoshi Shrine in Osaka. It started as a festival praying for a big catch (Sumiyoshi Festival) that the ocean in the area is not rough. After that, another event such as “River Fête”, “Opening Port Memorial Festival”, “Commerce and Festival” was held in Niigata. However, there was a demand from the local residents that “summarizing is more exciting than doing the events separately at the same time”. In response to such a voice, in the year 1955, the four festivals of Sumiyoshi Festival (Procession), River Fête (Fireworks display), Opening Port Memorial Festival (Dance festival), Commerce and Festival (Parade) were united and became “Niigata Festival”.
The first day’s main event is “Dai-Minyo-Nagashi” (Great Dance Festival) where more than 10,000 citizens participate. “Dai-Minyo-Nagashi” is an event to parade while dancing “Niigata Jinku” and “Sado Okesa” (Jinku or Okesa is a form of traditional Japanese songs). Every participating team dances in matching costumes. It is a very exciting event including spectators. It is an event where you can join adventitiously.
Must-see at the Niigata Festival is “Sumiyoshi Procession” which will be held on the 2 nd and 3 rd days. The oldest “Sumiyoshi Procession” among the four festivals is the main event of the Niigata Festival. The content is to wear old-fashioned outfits and to go around the city of Niigata. There is also “Mikoshi Togyo on the Water” where Mikoshi who got on the ship crossed the Shinano river and it is full of highlights. It is reminiscent of the Aoi festival in Kyoto. It is good to put your mind on history while watching the queue.
The Niigata Festival is said to have begun the “Sumiyoshi ” which will invite the object of worship to Tsumoto-jinja Shrine from Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine of Osaka inprocession 1726. After that, the four festivals which had been held in the area in 1955 were integrated and it seems that it became the form of the current Niigata Festival.
The Niigata Festival will be held for three days in the center of Niigata City. There are a variety of events in three days, you can enjoy it without breaks.
On the first day, Japan’s largest “Great Minyo-nagashi dance events” will be held from 19 o’clock. About 14,000 performers dance around the Bandai bridge, which is the symbol of Niigata. Each one dances in a matching Yukata and dances. There are circles of dancing around the downtown area, tourists can jump in.
On the second day, traditional “Sumiyoshi procession” is held. The performers wear old-fashioned costumes and walk around the city with a row of length of 1 kilometer. This event is said to convey the festival tradition to the viewer. Following “Sumiyoshi procession”, “Bandai Taiko Drum”, “Inasena-Mikoshi”, “Children’s Mikoshi” etc. are going to be continued.
A water parade by about 40 vessels colored full of fleets. By placing a mikoshi and crossing from the right bank of the Shinano River to the left bank, it symbolizes “Water City of Niigata”.
Fireworks display of the Niigata Festival finale. It is an extremely popular event that many people visit every year. There are also paid seats. If you want to see it comfortably, it is suggested you reserve a fee seat in advance.
|Address:||Bandai Niigata Chuo-ku, Niigata 950-0088 Japan|
|Access:||JR Joetsu-Shinkansen “Niigata-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)|
|Tel:||(+81) 25-290-4411 (Niigata Festival Executive Committee)|