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Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival 山王祭

Sanno Matsuri Sanno Matsuri
Sanno Matsuri Sanno Matsuri

A festival celebrating marriage, birth, and divinity

The Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival is six weeks of celebrations centered around the Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine. The festival is designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Otsu City.

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 .

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 in early March, 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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