Updated: July 14, 2017
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Come Feel the Thrill of the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival!

The Kishiwada danjiri (cart-pulling) matsuri is a festival of Kishiwada city in Osaka prefecture. It is said to be one of the most thrilling festivals in Japan! It's probably also the most popular festival of its kind in the country.

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The Danjiri

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"Danjiri" is a word that refers to massive wooden floats that resemble shrines. They are decorated with plenty of ornaments such as lanterns. They are generally kept in shrines all year round, except when the are pulled around towns during festivals. Before being displayed on a designated route, special ceremonies and prayers are performed.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

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The festival at Kishiwada has a 300 year old tradition and was originally held as a sort of communal prayer for having a bountiful grain crop harvest. Kishiwada is a working-class castle town that has become a suburb of Osaka. It is located fairly close to the Kansai International Airport. Picture above shows the Kishiwada castle.
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What makes Kishiwada's festival so outstanding is the sheer thrill and intensity of the danjiri pulling! Danjiri's weigh approximately 5 tons so each one is pulled by teams of up to 500 members. Kishida's matsuri is comprised of 35 neighborhood guilds that race through the pre-set course, occasionally taking sharp turns at hair-raising speeds!
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Pay attention to the person on top of the danjiri. That man is the "daikugata", or carpenter. It takes an incredible amount of balance and skills to stand on the float throughout the race. The daikugata not only does that but also performs amazing dances to the delight of the enthusiastic crowds. Tradition dictates that you have to be an actual carpenter for having the privilege of performing this dangerous act.

The sight is spectacular but the sounds of the drums and flutes also add to the intensity of the event. This is a matsuri so as such, you can enjoy local foods sold at stalls around town.

When and Where?

The festival is held on the weekend before "keiro no hi" or "Respect for the Elderly" day in September. Access the site by going to Kishiwada Station.
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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