Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival 山王祭

Sanno Matsuri
Sanno Matsuri

A wonderful festival celebrating marriage, birth, and divinity

The Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival is six weeks of celebrations centered around the Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine. A deignated Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

Don't Miss

  • One of Lake Biwa's biggest festivals
  • Majestic Shinto rituals

How to Get There

The Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival is easily accessed from Kyoto .

From Kyoto , take the JR Kosei line to Hieizan-Sakamoto Station, then walk 15-20 minutes to Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine.

One of the three biggest festivals at Lake Biwa

Hiyoshi Taisha is the head shrine of a network of 3,800 Shinto shrines throughout Japan. It is also the home of Sanno Gongen, the guardian deity of Mt. Hiei . It dates from the 8th century or earlier.

Six weeks of festivals lead to a thrilling climax

The annual Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival is one of Lake Biwa's Three Great Festivals. There are festivities for six weeks, starting on March 1, but the climax is April 12-14. On these days, portable shrines called mikoshi are paraded around the area. One such ritual represents the marriage of the gods. Another, where the mikoshi are violently shaken, symbolizes childbirth. On April 14, seven mikoshi are taken by a sacred boat across Lake Biwa and back for an offering ritual.

Although the rituals may be hard to understand, the festival is always fascinating. Add in the breathtaking spring views around the area and you won't want to miss it.

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