Jul/12 - 14, 2019 Grand Festival of Sawara4.2
from 7/12 '19 to 7/14 '19
traditionally believed in Japan that countless gods and deities live in the country. This is because agriculture, including rice farming, has long played a significant role in the lives of Japanese people. Farmers and others held many festivals to have gods grant their wishes. For example, they held festivals to pray for a prolific growth of rice, thank gods for a good harvest, appease evil spirits, pacify savage deities, prevent epidemics and pray for other wishes.
The Sawara Grand Festival is held twice a year in July and October in the region. The summer festival is organized by the Yasaka Shrine and known as Gion Festival, while the autumn one is held by the Suwa Shrine to pray for abundant crop. Gion Festival was initiated long ago to appease Gozu Tenno, a deity believed to cause the pandemic of infectious diseases, so that epidemics could be prevented. July is the rainy season in Japan and epidemics would break out around that humid month. The Suwa Shrine festival in October is intended to thank gods for a good harvest. The 2 traditional festivals in July and October, both of which date back 300 years, are both nicknamed the "Sawara Grand Festival." The highlight of the Sawara festival is the float parade, with 10 or so floats parading the streets during the festival period. These festival floats were created by craftsmen invited by wealthier merchants from Edo (old Tokyo), and featured sophisticated sculptures. The local merchants vied with one another to see who could have the largest doll on the top of their floats. The current form of the festival was established between the late Edo Period (1603-1867) and the early Meiji Era (1868-1912). About 15 people play small gongs, small drums and other instruments aboard the floats to perform the elegant Sawara Bayashi festival music; one of the 3 prominent festival music of Japan. To the music, people carry out the departure ritual, perform the dance and steer the floats in an elegant and gallant manner. One of the unique ways of pulling the floats is known as "nono ji mawashi," in which floats are steered as if they write the "no" hiragana character. In particular, the view of lantern-lit floats marching along the Onogawa River in the evening to Sawara Bayashi is a must-see. The picturesque scene reminds one of what Sawara used to be like in the Edo Period. The float parade is designated as Japan’s significant intangible folk cultural asset.
PurposeFestivals,easily accessible,parade,world heritage,night view,family,shrine/temple,sightseeing,let's hang out!,an eating tour
Airport/Sta.Sawara Sta. (about 900m) Google Transit