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The Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival

"#02 KAWAWATARI JINKOSAI" (#02 風治八幡宮 川渡り神幸祭) is a video created by "Higashikara." It introduces Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival (Fuji Hachimangu Kawawatari Jinkosai) in Tagawa, Fukuoka.

The "Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival" is one of the five major festivals of Fukuoka and the largest in the Chikuho region.
The five major festivals in Fukuoka include “Oniyo (Kurume),” “Hakata Gion Yamakasa” (Hakata, Fukuoka), “Kokura Gion Daiko” (Kokurakita, Kitakyushu), and “Tobata Gion Yamakasa” (Tobata, Kitakyushu).

This article introduces the history and highlights of the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival, which is listed an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Fukuoka.
The video shows the powerful river crossing and colorful floats of the festival.

What is the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival?

The Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival, one of the five major festivals of Fukuoka, is held on the third Saturday and Sunday in May.
100,000 people visit to see the festival; twice the population of Tagawa.
Eleven Nobori Yamakasa of the Uji clan, cross the Hikosan River (彦山川, Hikosangawa) accompanied by grand mikoshi (portable shrine) of Fuuji Hachimangu Shrine and the mikoshi of Shirotori Shrine (白鳥神社, Shirotorijinja).

Nobori Yamakasa are portable shrines and floats with colorful flags. They can be seen throughout the video from 0:17, 3:01, and 4:45.

Nobori yamakasa are decorated with five colored flags, which represent the image of rice plants and wish for bountiful harvests and good health.

The highlight of the festival is “Gaburi,” in which the yamakasa is swung back and forth in the Hikosan River to splash one another.
This is shown from 4:55 in the video.

The Origin and History of the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival

The Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival has a long history, dating back 450 years (1558 to 1569).

The origin of the festival is said to be the outbreak of an epidemic disease in Itamachi.
The villagers prayed to Fuuji Hachimangu Shrine, the village's guardian deity, for an end to the epidemic and offered a nobori yamakasa as a sign of their gratitude.

In 1970, it was listed as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Fukuoka.

Highlights of the Festival

The Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival is held in the Hikoyama River area between the Uomachi, Banda and Kawabata districts of Tagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The main event of the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival is the river crossing between the Shinbashi and Banda bridges of the Hikoyama River.
The festival is only about 30 minutes by car from Kyushu Expressway's Yahata Interchange, and is a short walk from the nearest station, Tagawa Ita Station on the JR and Heisei Chikuho Railway.
Free parking is available during the festival, but it can get very crowded, so we recommend using public transportation.

The festival has a story where the god of Fuji Hachimangu gets on a float and goes on a trip to Otabisho across the river and stays for 1 night and 2 days.
The first day of the festival is called “Okudari” and the second day is called “Onobori.” The course on the second day is the opposite of the first day and returns to Fuuji Hachimangu Shrine.

On the first day, “Fujihachimangu Jinkosai Shigyo” takes place.
The shintai is transferred to a Mikoshi and prepares for departure.
The shintai must not be seen by the public, and the body of the deity is hidden behind a white curtain and moved into the portable shrine. This can be seen at 0:47 in the video.

After that, the parade is carried out through the town and is filled with sounds of whistles and drums. “Odachi no Shishimai” is also performed to pray for the safety of the festival. This can be seen at 4:00 in the video.
There are food stalls and night stalls lining the streets as well.

Finally, the main event of the festival- the river crossing. This is shown at 4:18 in the video.
First, a mikoshi with a shintai goes enters the river, accompanied by a brightly colored nobori yamakasa.
Water is poured on the pullers and the bearers and the mikoshi is swung up and down, splashing water all about.
This is called “Gaburi.”
The powerful splashing of the mikoshi is incredible. It can be seen at 5:45 in the video.

Summary of the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival

Did you enjoy learning about the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival?
You can enjoy the powerful festival and beautiful nobori yamakasa by watching the video.

Fukuoka is famous for the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, but the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival is also amazing. If you can, we recommend lining up your visit to Fukuoka with the Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival!

Written By
Sep. 15, 2020
Japan
まえたけ(Maetake)
A writer who loves Japan
The Fuji Hachimangu Shrine River Crossing Festival Is One of the Five Major Festivals in Tagawa, Fukuoka, With 2 Portable Shrines and 11 Colorful Nobori Yamakasa Floats Crossing the River!
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