Takayama Festival, Japan
Takayama Festival floats
Visiting the Takayama Festival
Takayama Matsuri or Spring Festival is a bi-annual event and thought to be one of the three most colourful and historically interesting events in Japan.
Takayama is located a train ride from Nagoya.
Celebrating spring on April 14 -15 (also known as the Sanno festival, originating in a shrine in the south of the town) and autumn on October 9-10 (also known as the Hachiman festival due to its northern town connection). The floats (yatai) do NOT move out and about if rain falls due to potential damage of the dozen or so spectacular, ancient artifacts, so if you’re going just to see the floats check the accurate local Japanese weather forecast a few days before jumping on a train, though Takayama does offer several other attractive tourist options.
A monster crush at the opening mechanical doll-dancing ceremony, aka Karakuri.
This is the most crowded time at the Takayama Festival as people wait for performances by each of the three dolls topping the shrine (see below). Musicians or singers providing the voices or backing of the dolls lurk in the rectangular body of the float, with the puppet-master above them. Shows happen on both days of the festival at around midday.
In the event of precipitation performances still take place, but inside the yatai storage areas which are extremely small so chances of seeing the action are miniscule.
A doll-master straightening out his aged mate after the dancethon.