Jan 18, 2019
The annual Tokasan festival is almost as old as the city of Hiroshima itself (the 2019 festival is the 400th) and it is one of the most festival occasions in the Hiroshima calendar. Held on the first consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June, “officially” the festival is centered on Enryu-ji Temple (more commonly known as Tokasan) and, to be sure, thousands of festival-goers line up to pay their respects and wish for good health at the temple.
What everyone looks forward to, however, is the opportunity to hit the streets dressed in yukata light summer kimono.
Tokasan is one of the easiest festivals to join in as all you have to do is pick up a yukata and join the crowds. You can pay a fortune for a high quality robe, but, in the run up to the festival, you can find great deals at supermarkets and even discount stores like Don Quijote. During the festival itself, there are even places where, for ¥500, helpful ladies will make sure that your obi waist band is tied just right so you know you’ll look your best wandering around the street stalls that line Hiroshima’s city center streets.
Saturday night is the big night when Hiroshima’s main Chuo-dori Street is closed to traffic and you can watch yukata fashion shows, dance and Japanese drum performances. For a more local affair, head to Shintenchi Park where the local neighborhood association holds an old school bon-odori dance festival on each of the festival nights starting at about 7pm. Ladies of all ages, dressed in beautiful yukata, lead the way in traditional dances around a tall platform on top of which elderly men pound out the beat on a drum and local singers make occasional appearances. The vibe is delightfully retro and the food and drink stalls here hark back to simpler times and have lower prices than those on the main street. Whether you know the dances or not, visitors are always welcomed into the fray, especially if you’ve made the effort to wear your own yukata.
Dates: First consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sunday of June.
Location: Chuo-dori St and surrounding streets
Fee: Participation free of charge
Contact: Yukata-de-kinsai Festival Executive Committee
Phone: +81-82-245-1448 (Weekday 9:00-17:00)
Address: Namiki Bldg 6F 3-12 Mikawa-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima city
http://www.chushinren.jp/eventinfo/yukata.htm (Japanese website is only available)
Information about transport passes:
Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass
JR-WEST RAIL PASS
*Information is correct as of January 2019.
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