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!

  • 2019 Dates: Sept. 14 to Sept. 15
  • 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • The parade starts in front of Kishiwada Station on the first day while the festivities are centered around Kishiwada Castle from 9 a.m. on the second day.
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is one of the oldest, most lively, and absolutely dangerous festivals in the Kansai region. Yet, it’s an easy and effective way to get in touch with the carefree mentality of the area, which is arguably much different from Tokyo.

There have been various accidents, some even fatal, caused by this tradition.

The festival is the biggest and most famous Danjiri Festival in Japan. A danjiri is a traditional Japanese wooden float decorated with various ornaments and elaborate carvings. In the past, people have died from riding on top of these mini shrines, which are around 14 meters tall and weigh four tons. Yeah, that part about it being a dangerous festival wasn’t an exaggeration!

Photo by: Kounosu Riding the shrine like a boss.

Every year the festival is held an hour outside Osaka City in Kishiwada, the weekend before the Japanese public holiday Respect for the Elderly Day in September.

Local carpenters who make the portable shrines to pray for a successful autumn harvest are the ones riding on the top.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival in Osaka

Photo by: Chi (in Oz) Please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please…

To raise the danger level even higher, the carpenter on the roof of the shrine showcases an acrobatic dance. The dance isn’t ritualistic in nature, but all of the carpenters’ movements take on a similar style.

Luckily, there haven’t been any deadly accidents in recent years, but people riding and dancing on the shrines still often fall down, especially when riding through a curve. If you want to enjoy the parade safely, watch out when the shrine comes blazing around a sharp corner.

Around Kishiwada

Photo by: Gary Luscombe Kishiwada Castle tower and moat.

After the parade ends, take a walk through the city until the evening when the shrines are illuminated by lanterns. Nearby Kishiwada Castle is definitely worth a visit.

If you can’t read Japanese, then you might miss out on some of the historical info, but the stunning view of the town overlooking the ocean can be appreciated by all. Just relax and enjoy the unusual view of the ocean.

A visit to Kishiwada during this lively spectacle will reshape any Japanese festival experience you’ve already had!

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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

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8:30 p.m. during festivals, and April 1 until April 15) Entrance fee is ¥300 for adults and free for children

How To Get There

Address

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

By train

From Namba Station, take the Nankai Line to Kishiwada Station. Kishiwada Castle is 14 minutes from there on foot.

Where To Stay

APA Hotel Kanku-Kishiwada
  • Miyamotocho 3-19 Kishiwada-Shi, Osaka 596-0054
  • 7.1/10
  • 0.2 km
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Kishiwada City Hotel Princess
  • Numacho 17-1 Kishiwada-Shi, Osaka 596-0053
  • 6.7/10
  • 0.3 km
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Airport Osaka
  • Kubo 96-1 Kaizuka-Shi, Osaka 597-0031
  • 6.8/10
  • 1.6 km
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Hotel Sunrise Inn
  • Naka 925 Kaizuka-Shi, Osaka 597-0003
  • 7.5/10
  • 2.4 km
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