A trip to experience festivals,
an ongoing tradition in the birthplace of Hokkaido
The festival tradition has been handed down for generations. Dignified and vibrant,
festivals in Hiyama are all the more powerful because it is the birthplace of Hokkaido. Summer, a time when Hiyama brims with festival excitement,
is the best season to visit this place as it is also the season for various marine products. The roots of Hokkaido culture can be seen in the lively festival atmosphere.
Esashi-Ubabami Daijingu Togyo Festival
The air of excitement grows with the competing sounds of instruments in festival music. The Kitamae Ship brings back the bustling scene of Esashi from days of old.
The moment men get caught up in the excitement
The Esashi-Ubabami Daijingu Togyo Festival is the oldest festival in Hokkaido. It originated from the legend of Ubagami, who saved Esashi from famine by forecasting the extraordinary natural phenomenon. During the three days of the festival, 13 gorgeous floats parade throughout the town accompanying mikoshi portable shrines along with Gion-bayashi music. At night, guided by the wavering light of torches, shukuire—an event in which a mikoshi portable shrine is transported to the shrine repeatedly—is performed. Experience for yourself the bustling atmosphere of Esashi, which was once said to be greater than that of the castle town of Edo, as it returns to present day.
Kaminokuni Hachimangu Togyo Festival
This is a big parade of samurai dressed in kamishimo held since the Edo period. Matsuri-bayashi festival music is accompanied by rallying cries.
Everyone becomes samurai.
“We're here!” This shout echoing in the autumn wind is the same phrase used by retainers of the Matsumae clan when they visited Kaminokuni in the Edo period. This annual festival has its roots in okachi gyoretsu (parade of foot soldiers), which was held to show respect to Nobuhiro Takeda, the original forefather of the Matsumae clan. All of the parade participants are given special permission to dress in samurai garments identical to those at the time and parade around the Kaminokuni district till dusk with their legs swinging right and left. Kaminokuni's sophisticated and original culture, which remains today, is expressed through this festival.
Otobe Hachiman Shrine Reitaisai Festival
This is a festival tradition that has been passed down to the present day. Young people from the town currently living elsewhere come home to heat up the Otobe summer.
All men of seaside towns enjoy festivals.
The festival starts with the Fureai Bon Dance held at Otobe Fishing Port. With the lights of squid fishing boats and festival floats illuminating the site, fireworks add a nice touch to the big Bon Dance circle. On the following day, floats and mikoshi portable shrines inherited by each district parade around the town. Among them, Ebisuyama is decorated with an Ebisu doll salvaged from a sunken ship off the coast of Otobe 120 years ago. Young people from Otobe who currently live elsewhere come home to liven up the festival.
Assabu Tatejo Castle Ruins Festival
The harsh battle between the Imperial army and the former Shogunate forces fought at Tatejo Castle at the end of the Boshin War is reproduced in a rain of cherry blossoms.
A festival with cherry blossoms in full bloom
This is a festival held at the ruins of Tatejo Castle, which was the last castle of the Matsumae clan and burned down in only two and a half months. The festival is the best time to see some 800 cherry blossom trees in bloom at the site, and a sword fight show reproducing the battle between the Imperial army and the former Shogunate forces, which is filled with a mood of excitement reminiscent of the end of the Edo period, can be seen in a rain of cherry blossoms. In addition, May Queen potatoes developed in Assabu are served free of charge. Visitors can fully enjoy the charm of Assabu from the perspectives of both its history and food.
Setana Isaribi Festival
This is a food event for seafood lovers! The fragrant smell of fresh fish grilled using earthen charcoal braziers is sure to stimulate your appetite.
Red and white rice cakes fly across the blue sky!
The Setana Isaribi Festival starts with a scattering of red and white rice cakes, which fly across the sky. Visitors can enjoy an abundance of fresh seafood and purchase live scallops, abalone and sea urchin raised in the angry waves of the Sea of Japan at special prices. The festival site is lined with seats equipped with earthen charcoal braziers and there is also a hands-on fishing experience with squid and scallops, which are caught in the sea that very morning and prepared as sashimi right there on the spot. At night, 2,000 rocket fireworks paint the Sea of Japan.
Three Major Festivals of Okushiri
Three major Okushiri festivals that allow visitors to fully enjoy the summer filled with excellent moods, foods and friendships
Participate in all three!
Okushiri's summer begins with the Sai-no-Kawara Festival, which creates a spectacular view of lanterns illuminating the riverside and the moon over the Sea of Japan filled with an atmospheric mood. At the Murotsu Festival, fishing boat flags flutter in the wind all over the place and the parade of fishing boats continuing to Murotsu Island is overwhelming. There is also an event called Umi-no-sachi Aji-zanmai under the Bokaikyo (a concrete emergency platform) where seafood can be grilled to enjoy on the spot. The three major festivals come to an end with the Nabetsuru Festival, which is popular among local residents for performances of popular songs and other events.
Imakane Autumn Festival
A powerful festival to appreciate the plentiful harvest. The sound of spectacular Kenka Daiko (fighting drums) echoes in the night sky.
A festival maintaining the spirit of festivals in days gone by
The Imakane Autumn Festival is believed to have begun in the Meiji period as a Reitaisai festival of Imakane Hachimangu Shrine to appreciate the sun and the soil and celebrate the plentiful harvest. Although it is a festival to appreciate the plentiful harvest, the power and energy is overwhelming. Floats and mikoshi portable shrines march throughout the town, and at night dazzling drum battles are held. The battles start with the saying, “Pray for a plentiful harvest, thriving business and peace for all households, and beat the drums!” Approximately 30 large and small drums are played alternately and shouts of encouragement echo in the night sky.