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Shibushi Oshaka Festival

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Shibushi Oshaka Festival


Celebrate at one of Kagoshima's three major matsuri

Osumi Tourism&Regional Development Corp.



Every April 29th, over 100,000 people make their way to Shibushi City in Kagoshima, on Japan's southern Kyushu island, for one of the prefecture's three biggest festivals. Celebrated since the Edo period (1603–1867), Shibushi Oshaka Matsuri marks the birth of Gautama Buddha.


The highlight of the festivities is a colorful procession which winds through the city streets to Hōman-ji, a temple linked to safety in childbearing. It's customary to gently wash the temple's small statues of Buddha with sweet tea during the festival, in hopes that you'll be blessed with a year of good health in return.


The most famous part of the procession is the shan-shan horse parade, where you can see women dressed as brides in beautiful kimono being led on horseback towards the temple. The name 'shan-shan' refers to the ringing sound of the bells attached the horses' harnesses. Following the picturesque shan-shan horse parade are people performing the lively Hanya-bushi song and dance – you're sure to get swept up in the energy of the song.


You can enjoy plenty of other music, too, from brass bands to taiko drummers. And of course, no matsuri (Japanese festival) is complete without sampling festival foods from the stands set up around the parade route and temple.


How to get there


From Miyazaki Airport, take the JR Miyazaki Airport Line 2 minutes to Tayoshi Station. Next take the JR Nichinan Line 2 hours 17 mins direct to Shibushi Station, from where it is a 15 minute walk. Alternatively, 10 minutes by car from Shibushi Port (Sunflower Ferry Terminal).



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