NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


伊香保まつり Ikaho-matsuri Ikaho Festival

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Ikaho Festival is held from September 18 to 20 every year at Ikaho Shrine in Ikaho Town in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture. The shrine was founded during the period of Empress Suiko (reigned 592-628). The enshrined deities are Onamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunahikona no Mikoto. The annual autumn festival has been held on September 19 since the shrine was ranked as a Myojin Taisha shrine (a grand shrine enshrines a high-ranked deity) on this day in 835.

Ikaho Town is known throughout the country as a hot spring town, where a flight of 365 stone steps connect every streets of the town. On the day of the festival, mikoshi (portable shrine) and Ikaho’s traditional barrel-shaped mikoshi are carried up the stone steps and offered before the shrine at the top. The sight of the mikoshi carriers bumping against each other in the narrow stone steps is really thrilling. Some of them are sometimes so strained that they tumble down the steps.

The festival is combined with Roka Festival, at which a Japanese tea ceremony is held in memory of a Meiji-period novelist Tokutomi Roka, who introduced this hot spring town in his most famous novel “Hototogisu (The Cuckoo)”.

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Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture 377-0102
Ikaho Festival

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