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The oldest yukata festival in Japan, with a 260-year history

Each year from June 22 to 24, thousands of people gather around Osakabe Shrine in the center of Himeji City for the annual Himeji Yukata Festival, in celebration of this colorful, traditional cotton garment. Join in for a one-of-a-kind experience and pay your own tribute to traditional Japanese fashion.

Quick Facts

The festival is the largest of its kind in Japan, with nearly 800 stalls and 200,000 visitors

It began in the time of Sakakibara Masamine, who was Lord of Himeji from 1732 to 1741

Festivities include a yukata parade, a yukata fashion show, music and dance performances

How to Get There

From JR Himeji Station, walk north along the wide Otamae-dori Street.

The festival takes place in the center of Himeji City, between Himeji Station and Himeji Castle .

A celebration of national dress

Yukata are light garments made from cotton, usually worn during the hot Japanese summer months. Though there are several yukata festivals in Japan, the Himeji Yukata Festival is the oldest and by far the largest, with nearly 800 stalls and 200,000 visitors each year.

The festival began when Sakakibara Masamine, who was Lord of Himeji Castle from 1732 to 1741, decided to move Osakabe Shrine closer to the town center. A street festival was hastily organized to mark the shrine opening.

Despite an existing taboo of wearing yukata in public, the event's short notice meant there was not enough time for many of the townspeople to buy a more formal kimono, and so the lord permitted them to don a yukata. The rest, as they say, is history.

Join in

Now, some 70 percent of visitors come dressed in yukata each year. If you don't have your own and would like to join in the fun, several shops in the area rent out yukata during the festival period.

Those in yukata can get discounts at many of the festival stalls, and also free entry to the inner part of Himeji Castle.

The evening festival takes place from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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