Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Osaka
Population
8,804,806

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Come on ride the shrine, and ride it! ... At the most dangerous festival in Kansai!

  • 2018 Festival: Sept. 15-16
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is one of the oldest, most lively, yet most dangerous festivals in the Kansai region. Yet, it’s an easy and effective way to get in touch with the mentality of the area (arguably much different from Tokyo), and its way of life.

The festival is the biggest and most famous Danjiri Matsuri in Japan. A danjiri is a traditional Japanese wooden float that has elaborate carvings and is decorated with various ornaments. In the past, people were killed by riding — yes, riding on top of — mini shrines that are around 14 meters tall and weigh four tons.

Photo by: Kounosu Riding the shrine like a boss.

The festival, which takes place about an hour outside Osaka City in Kishiwada, is on a different date each year. However, the festival is usually held on a weekend in September one week before the Japanese public holiday Respect of the Elderly Day.

Festivals of Japan: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri in Osaka

The Osaka Prefecture festival has a long history which goes back 300 years. The spectacular and very fast rides on top of the shrines are performed by the local carpenters who make the mini shrines, which are called “mikoshi” in Japanese, to ensure the harvest of rice, wheat and soybeans. To make it even more breathtaking to watch, the carpenter on the roof of the mini-shrine showcases an acrobatic dance. (It is not a ritualistic dance, but all of the carpenters dancing takes on a similar theme.)

Unfortunately, there were and are also various accidents caused by this tradition, some even fatal. Nowadays, luckily there are no deadly accidents anymore but people riding and dancing on the shrines still often fall down, especially when riding through a curve. So if you want to enjoy the parade carefree you better watch out when they corner sharply.

In the area

After quite a while, the parade will end and you have the chance to walk through the city until the evening program starts. Kashiwada also has a small castle, which is definitely worth a visit. If you can’t read Japanese, then you might miss out on some of the historical info, but on top of Kishiwada Castle, there is a stunning view of the ocean and the town. Just relax and enjoy the unusual view of the ocean.

A visit to this festival will reinvent the Japanese festival experience you’ve already had!

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Trivia

Festivals of Japan: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri in Osaka

The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is considered to be Osaka’s wildest festival and is kind of like their running of the bulls.

More

Things To Know

Official Website

For a downloadable map of this year’s festival route, go here: https://www.city.kishiwada.osaka.jp/site/danjiri/danjiri-map.html

Castle Fees and Hours

Kishiwada castle: Opening hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (During festivals April 1 until April 15; from 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.) Entrance fee adult ¥300 and children until middle school free.

How To Get There

Address

1-9 Miyamotochō, Kishiwada-shi, Ōsaka-fu 596-0054, Japan

By train

Kishiwada Danjiri: At Namba station change to Nankai line and get off at Kishiwada station. (The festival is in this area.)

Kishiwada Castle: At Namba station change to Nankai line and get off at Kishiwada, walk from Kishiwada station to the castle (around a 14-minute walk).