Kawahira Hanataue 川平町花田植え


A rarely seen, very colorful and musical traditional agricultural festival

Watch brightly dressed musicians accompany saotome, planting maidens, as the deities are called upon to bless this year's rice planting. Enjoy witnessing a rite that was once commonplace but now has almost disappeared.

Don't Miss

  • The opening parade to kick off the festivities
  • Delicious local food on sale under the awnings
  • Colorfully decorated oxen

How to Get There

Kawahira is a 15-minute train ride from Gotsu Station on the Sanin Line.

A tiny village surrounding rice paddies, the festival site can't be missed.

When to go

Kawahira Hanataue is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the last Sunday of May.

Festivities begin

As in times past, this is still a purely agricultural area, and the festival is held for the local community. However, don't let this deter you. Guests are welcomed and honored in this festival. Head there early, the festival starts at 10 a.m. and finishes in the early afternoon.

What to expect

Firstly, a group of black oxen arrives led by a masked "fool." Then, several large groups of musicians playing a variety of traditional instruments and singers arrive. At the end are the saotome, or young maidens, wearing colorful and traditional outfits.

The work begins

After a short ritual where a sacred branch and sake is offered to the deity of the rice paddy, the oxen are circled around the paddy.

The main event begins as a long line of maidens, stretching from one side of the paddy to the other, start the back-breaking work of planting the rice seedlings while standing calf-deep in the mud. Bend over, plant, stand up, step back, repeat, until eventually the whole paddy is planted, all the while encouraged by drummers and singers.

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