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Photo By: drewsalem1994
Largest City

Enshu Flying Dragon Festival

See a dragon spit fireworks into the night sky.

  • The 2020 Flying Dragon Festival which was scheduled to take place late May has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
If you’d like to welcome summer with a great big bang, head to Hamamatsu for fire, dancing and a dragon. The city in Shizuoka Prefecture is known for its kite festival on the Nakatajima sand dunes during Golden Week. However, summer is just as fun with the Enshu Hamakita Kiryu Matsuri (also known as the Flying Dragon Festival) held in Nakase, on the banks of the Tenryu River.

About Ryujin

Photo by: drewsalem1994 A giant dragon head ready to spit fire!

The festival honors Ryujin, the dragon king. In Japan, he is known as the god of water, including the rivers and seas. Ryujin is very important in Japanese mythology and often appears in popular folktales such as Urashima Taro, where a fisherman rescues Ryujin’s daughter and is rewarded with a visit to the god’s underwater palace.

What to expect

Every year, locals install a 60-meter-long dragon kite on the Tenryu river bank to honor Ryujin. Long ago, the river used to be known as Tenryu rampage, particularly when it caused large floods in the area.

Photo by: drewsalem1994 A giant red dragon at Enshu Flying Dragon Festival!

By day, as the red dragon kite flutters in the wind, locals fly large kites by the river and battle for supremacy. At the end of the kite flying contest, in the evening, a large bonfire is lit. All the participating teams circle the flames and wave their district flags until a winner is declared.

Photo by: drewsalem1994 Both flying dragons and fireworks.

On the second and concluding night of the festival, the dragon kite transforms into a glittering spectacle against the night sky. Fireworks drip from its body and issue from its fanged mouth, much to the audience’s delight.

But if you also catch the first day, there are celebrations at the square near Hamakita station where the atmosphere is electric with drum shows, tai chi, Yosakoi dance, Polynesian dance and more.

Things To Know

Date and time

The festival usually takes place during the last weekend in May or the first weekend in June. See the official website for exact times and dates.

Official Website

https://www.city.hamamatsu.shizuoka.jp/hk-shinko/event/h30/28thhuryumaturi.html (Japanese)

How To Get There


Japan, Shizuoka-ken, Hamamatsu-shi, Hamakita-ku, 県道344号線

By train

Take the Tokaido-Sanyo bullet train from Tokyo station to Hamamatsu station (88 minutes).  Walk to Shin-Hamamatsu station (7 minutes). At Shin-Hamamatsu, take the Nishikajima-bound line to Hamakita station (22 minutes) or Nishikajima station (32 minutes). There are free shuttle buses to the main festival venue from Nishikajima station (15 minutes) or Hamakita station (40 minutes).

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