Furukawa Matsuri, designated as Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property by the government, is an exhilarating festival held on April 19th and 20th annually. The festival consists of two parts: Okoshi-Daiko (rousing drum) parade and the gorgeous "Yatai" or festival floats parade. The Okoshi-Daiko parade has hundreds of men carrying the big drum which are played occasionally by two men on the top. The Yatai parade sees nine beautifully decorated festival floats moving through Furukawa Town. Do not miss this event if you are in Hida Furukawa during this time of the year — it is the city's biggest event.
During other times of the year, visitors can also stop by Hida Furukawa Festival Exhibition Hall. It has a 4K movie of the Furukawa Festival and diplays three real Yatai floats where visitors can experience a small glimpse of the festive atmosphere of the Furukawa Matsuri.
Furukawa Festival: A UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
In December 2016, the Furukawa Festival, with its Okoshi-Daiko (the Rousing Drum) and Yatai Float Event, was registered on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. It is a part of the “Yama, Hoko, Yatai Events” that are held in all parts of the country. These are 33 float festivals chosen to represent different regions of Japan.
The Furukawa Festival is held annually on April 19th and 20th. This traditional event is an annual festival of the Keta Wakamiya Shrine. It attracts many tourists every year, especially on the night of the 19th when the large drum float, Okoshi-Daiko, is paraded through the town by hundreds of half-naked men. The Okoshi-Daiko features a large drum played by two men who sit atop it. Fiery battles between Tsuke-daiko (small drum) groups continue until midnight, as each group jostles for position to attach its Tsuke-daiko to the Okoshi-Daiko.
The Yatai parade is another highlight of the festival. Nine Yatai floats are ornately decorated with elaborate carvings, and show off their unique craftsmanship. In contrast to the excitement of the Okoshi-Daiko event, the Yatai Parade is peaceful and beautiful. The festival is composed of “motion” and “stillness,” a concept that has been passed down for generations and takes on important role in signaling the arrival of spring.
*UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage is designated as globally valued according to “Regulations on Intangible Cultural Preservation.”
One of Hida Furukawa’s biggest annual events is the Furukawa Festival, held in April every year, which sees beautifully decorated floats (yatai) paraded through the city — but what happens to them during the rest of the year?
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Enjoy Furukawa Festival Throughout the Year
The Furukawa Festival Exhibition Hall is a must-see for any visit to Hida Furukawa and offers perhaps the best chance to get to know what Hida is about.
The Furukawa Festival, which heralds the arrival of spring, is Hida’s biggest annual festival held every April 19th–20th and is a...