Takayama Spring Festival 春の高山祭

Takayama Festival
Takayama Festival

Greet the beginning of spring with one of the most famous festivals in Japan

Every April 14 and 15, tens of thousands of people descend on Takayama for its spring festival. Featuring elaborate, large-scale floats accompanied by a traditional musical soundtrack, this event is universally regarded as one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan.

How to Get There

The most convenient way to get to Takayama is by public transport.

Trains from Nagoya leave every hour, taking about two hours 20 minutes. Takayama is also connected to Toyama and Matsumoto by regular trains and highway buses.

Beautiful displays

The centerpieces of the festival are the yatai. These elaborate floats are displayed from morning until late-afternoon outside their storehouses. Some of the floats are topped with puppets called karakuri dolls. In the mid-morning and early afternoon, the puppets "perform" a traditional dance. During bad weather, the doors to the storehouses are opened, and the yatai are kept inside.

An evening to remember

In the evening, the huge, heavy yatai are expertly led through the streets by dedicated teams. Smaller mikoshi, or portable shrines, also make the journey through the streets. The shouts and grunts of exertion, traditional music played on flutes and stringed instruments, and swinging lanterns make for a vivid, exciting experience that draws people from all over Japan every year.

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