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The Takayama Festival and Sincere Hearts of People

The Spring Takayama Festival on April 14th through 15th was canceled due to the pandemic coronavirus disease.

Spring Takayama Festival (Sanno Matsuri)

I feel so sorry to hear that news every day. People all over the world are right now suffering from this disease. I really hope all of them are healed from that soon and free to visit here Takayama someday in the near future.

Two Takayama Festivals and Its Background History

The Takayama Festival is held twice a year, in the spring and autumn seasons. They are led by two different Shinto shrines which are called Hie Jinja and Sakura-yama Hachiman-gu.

Hie Jinja which is located in the southern part of the old town of Takayama has named it “Sannoh Festival,” and leads sort of conservative residents in the south. On the other hand, Sakura-yama Hachiman-gu which is located in the northern part has named it “Hachiman Festival,” and leads liberals in the North. These two groups speak ill of them each other in some cases.

All festivals in the world usually have their own stories behind them.

In the case of here this Takayama Festival, people usually pray for their good luck for the harvest in Spring and show their appreciation to the holy spirits of nature and the universe in Autumn.
People at least in the past had naturally followed to the power of the nature and the universe as tradition and culture, and felt the real meaning of life.

Yatai Is Life

There is a big reason why the Takayama Festival has become so famous and popular in Japan.

In the early 18th century, people who joined in Hachiman Festival in Autumn were so liberal that they began to use big floats which were called “Yatai.” Yatais have been decorated so gorgeous and fabulous that people are attracted so much even now. To tell you more precisely, around that period of time in the 18th century, people sometimes suffered from famine, especially among general peasants and merchants. Only rich merchants like bourgeois had more economic and political power rather than officials in the Takayama branch office of Tokugawa Shogunate. They only could afford to manage and operate Yatais.

However, rich people were actually very few, and many general peasants and merchants helped to devote their sincere hearts to decorated Yatais for their better future.

Spirit of Harmony, Wa (和)

People had their own different wishes but the festival gave them chances to be united and cooperated.

One of my new friends in Takayama talked to me “No one can control a Yatai without kind cooperation of all people. Uniting their hearts might bring it to the right direction forward.”

I really hope to see the festival this coming Autumn.



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