NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


魚吹八幡神社 提灯祭り Usuki-hatiman-jinja Cyouchin-matsuri The Chochin Lantern Festival at Usuki Hachiman Shrine

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The autumn festival at Usuki Hachiman Shrine in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, is one of the largest festivals in the prefecture. As it is popularly called “Chochin Festival,” the most attractive feature is the lantern parade and “Chochin-neri.”

On the first day of the two-day festival, more than 1,000 lantern-carriers gather and head for the shrine. Each holds a lantern hung from a 3-meter long bamboo pole and walk slowly along the front approach, guarding the mikoshi (portable shrine) procession. When they get to the Sakura-mon Gate, they suddenly bump into each other to try to tear down the others’ lanterns. The spectators are excited by the violent atmosphere created by the clanging sounds of bamboo poles beaten hard against one another, the lantern-carriers’ vigorous shouts and the sights of lanterns burning and falling to the ground. By the time the mikoshi enters the precinct, it is said, all the lanterns are burned down and only the poles remain.

On the second day, the parade of 18 mikoshi-floats goes through the city, during which the float carriers raise the float high up into the air, at the sign of the powerful call, “Chosa!” In the shrine precinct, various performing arts such as Lion Dance are dedicated to the deities.

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193 Miyauchi, Aboshi-ku, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 671-1222
The Chochin Lantern Festival at Usuki Hachiman Shrine

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