NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/26


日田祇園祭 Hita-gionmaturi Hita Gion Festival

Jp En

The Hita Gion Festival is held to pray for peace and ward off evil and misfortune, and takes place in Hita, Oita Prefecture.

The Hita Gion Festival is an epic festival held every summer to protect the community from illness and damage from floods and storms, as well to pray for peace. It began as a festival to ward off evil in the Kuma and Mameda region. Soon, genuine, full-scale hikiyama (floats in the shape of samurai helmets, fish, dragons etc.) were built, along with the development and elaboration of the festival, which has continued to develop into its present form.

In 1988, the 10m-high yamaboko (festival float) was revived for the first time in 90 years and was simply mind-blowing. Nine sets of yamaboko go around the city day and night, and compete to be the most luxurious and gorgeous float. Gion musical accompaniment is an imperative and essential part of the rounds of the city, with its unique sounds of the flute, drums and shamisen. The all-star roundup of the 9 yamaboko in front of Hita JR station is impressive and spectacular. In 1996, the festival was designated an important intangible folk cultural asset of Japan.
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