Gifu Prefecture – Spring Takayama Festival (Sannou Festival)
Hidetakayama is a place which still retains the essence of old Japan, and it is also a popular tourist location. A major event in the area is the Takayama Festival.
Takayama Festival is the general term for the “Sannou Festival,” held in spring, and the “Hachiman Festival” held in autumn. The spring Takayama Festival (Sannou Festival) has been held annually at Hie Shrine since long ago. The Sannou Festival is a traditional festival, beloved by the people, that is held to announce the arrival of spring.
The 12 Festival Floats
The 12 festival floats used in this event are considered to be Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties of Japan. Each of the stalls has its own name and unique design. 3 of the 12 floats have mechanical dolls attached to them, and the delicate movements of the dolls when they perform are almost lifelike.
Gojunkou (Festival Procession)
During this event, a group of hundreds of people wearing traditional clothing march through the city to the beat of the festival’s music. Other events include a mikoshi (portable shrine) procession, lion dancing, and a traditional art form known as “toukeiraku” (“cockfighting music”).
On the evening of April 14th, lights on the floats are switched on. This allows guests to enjoy the floats’ beauty in a different way than in the daytime, and it creates a fantastical atmosphere.
Each float slowly makes its rounds through town, playing a parting song called “Takai Yama” (“Tall Mountain”) as they return to their storehouses. Sorrow seems to hang in the air during the night festival.