Festival (matsuri)


Festival (matsuri, Japan)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Observance


The word FESTIVAL, Matsuri (祭り) by itself is
a kigo for all summer.

In the month of July there are especially many festivals in Japan. Since the traditional festivals were directed toward the deities to pray for a good harvest, rain, no drought, not too many incects to destroy the harvest and so forth, July was an important season, after the rice planting, to care for the rice paddies.

We have a special section about the meaning and tradition of the matsuri, please read
Festivals of Japan, before you carry on here.

Festivals during other seasons are the Spring festivals, . Autumn Festival (aki matsuri, Japan) ,
and Winter festivals.

Matsuri are an important part of farmers' lives and later of the lives of townfolk, like Kyoto and Edo. There are also many kigo associated with matsuri, let us look at some of them. They are all kigo for all summer.

When it rained during a festival, people took it as a sign that the gods had heared their payers and accepted their offerings, so they were happy about a bit of rain:

omou sama futte agarishi matsuri kana

as it goes ...
a bit of rain, a bit of shine
the festival

久保田万太郎 Kubota Mantaro


kigo for all summer

portable shrine, mikoshi 神輿、御輿
high portable shrine, dashi 山車
. danjiri 山車(だんじり)festival float

"barrel portable shirne", tarumikoshi 樽御輿

..... Small lightweight shrine for children to carry around

festival drums, matsuri daikoo 祭大鼓
..... Drums in Religious Rituals by Gabi Greve
festival flute, matsuribue 祭笛
festival music, orchestra, matsuribayashi 祭囃子

shirne at night, yoimiya 宵宮
evening shrine festival, yoi matsuri 宵祭
..... Indicating a festival that started in the evening and went on for the next day.

Lanterns for the festival, matsuri choochin 祭提灯
..... Painted with special patterns and figures for a festival.
..... Lanterns (choochin) by Gabi Greve

official festival, hon matsuri 本祭り
simple festival, kage matsuri 蔭祭り

..... Literally: Shadow Festival. This was held in some years as a smaller version than the official one. Sometimes the official festival was every second or sixth year only, to avoid too much splendor or spendings for a community.

cloths for the festival, matsuri-goromo 祭衣
..... Ladies wear light summer kimono or yukata. Men wear happi coats and leggins or other group dresses.
..... Kimono, Yukata, Nagajuban by Gabi Greve

. Hikiyama 曳山 large festival floats  .


The following are NOT kigo:

jiguruma じぐるま【地車】"earth cart"
another word for a large mikoshi with four wheels to carry a heavy load.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

jiguruma no todoro to hibiku botan kana

the noisy rumbeling
of festival floats . . .
these peonies

Yosa Buson 蕪村

(The Japanese has the cut marker KANA at the end of line 3.)

. Buson and Botan Peony Haiku .

source : shodo86.blog114

Worldwide use


Salzburger Festspiele
Every year in summer the Austrian town Salzburg invites to visit the Salzburg Festival (operas, concerts). Famous musicians, singers from all over the world come to Salzburg and are worth that so many visitors sweat in the queue for tickets.

Angelika Wienert

Here is more information:

Things found on the way

Great link to photos of various festivals, with the matsuribayashi, the orchestra of drums and flutes playing. This takes a while but it will get you right in the mood of matsuri.
Listen to it here.

Copyright (C) 2000-2005 Yoshio Wada.


yûdachi ni tsugi no matsuri no tôri keri

in a cloudburst
another festival shrine
passes by

o-matsuri ya taga ko-dakara no aka ôgi

festival day--
some treasured child's
red fan

Issa has more than 25 haiku about various matsuri.


tarumikoshi kodomo ni majiri katsugikeri

barrel shrine -
amongst the children
I carry it too

(平成十五年七月 東州句会より)


お神輿を  川で清めて    秋祈る
omikoshi o  kawa de kiyomete  aki inoru

purify the portable shrines
in the river
pray for autumn

Autumn means a good harvest.

.. .. ..

担ぎ手が 江戸面になる 神輿かな
katsugi-te ga Edo-zura ni naru mikoshi kana

> > all carriers
> > became Edo faces -
> > portable shrines

Sakuo Nakamura


Salzburg Festival -
sweating in the queue
for tickets

Angelika Wienert

Related words

More religious festivals will be explained here:
Saijiki for Japanese Festivals and Ceremonies

. Autumn Festival (aki matsuri, Japan)
Chrysanthemum Festival kiku matsuri (Japan)
Juggernaut Festival (India)
Kokuseki-Ji Naked Festival Japan (05)
Sanja Festival at Asakusa Kannon (Japan)
Setsubun (Japan) .. Bean Throwing Festival, February 3
Star Festival (Tanabata, Japan)

Festivals of Japan
General Introduction





sakuo said...

Gabi san


. Gabi Greve said...

. Festivals around Tokyo, January 2006 .


. Gabi Greve said...

kandagawa/matsuri no naka o/nagare keri

in the midst of the festival,
the River Kanda

Kubota Mantaroo

Tr. Susumu Takiguchi