Tenjin Matsuri, Japan

Tenjin Matsuri, Japan

Tenjin Matsuri, Japan

 

Celebration Date
24th to 25th July
Other Name
Holiday Type
Not National Holiday

 

Tenjin Matsuri is one of the top 3 festivals in Japan (see also Gion Festival). This annual festival dates back over the last 1,000 years, it incorporates traditional singing and dancing, and it is considered to be the world's greatest boat festival. This summer festival that happens all over the city of Osaka on July 24th and 25th starts at the Tenman Shrine.

This shrine is dedicated to the kami Sugawara-no-Michizane, a man who lived during the mid-9th century to early 10th century and is now considered a kami of art and learning. The highlights of the festival start at 15:30 of the second day (July 25), when the red-hatted drummers lead the land procession from Tenmangu Shrine through the streets of Osaka. The long procession features costumed characters, including Sarutahiko, a long-nosed goblin riding a horse, a ceremonial float accompanied by festival music, lion dancers, umbrella dancers and other attractions.

The land processional is led by red hatted drummers and citizens in 8th to 12th century imperial clothes. Near the end is a portable Tenmangu Shrine. The groups push through crowded streets, chanting and cheering to the gods. At sunset, the land procession moves to the Osaka Okawa River, creating one of the largest boat festivals in the world. Some boats hold giant lanterns, some are flat stages for noh and bunraku performances, some are thin rowboats that are propelled up and down the river by a group of young Japanese men, and some light enormous oil fires along the deck.

This stunning fire display draws people from all over Japan to the Tenjin Matsuri. The Tenjin Matsuri is a uniquely Osaka style festival. Anyone can join in; it is a great chance to enjoy a hot summer day, wear a yukata and geta, and enjoy the celebration. It is impossible to find such a festival anywhere else in Japan; the boat display and hypnotic lights dancing across the river have no equal. The Tenjin Matsuri is by far the most famous festival in Osaka; you cannot call yourself a true Osaka citizen without taking part in the festivities.  

  

 

 

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