Nikko Toshogu Shunki Taisai Grand Spring Festival 日光東照宮春季大祭

Shunki Reitaisai Grand Festival of Spring
Shunki Reitaisai Grand Festival of Spring

Celebrating the life and death of one of Japan's most important rulers

When Tokugawa Ieyasu, the most powerful man in Japan at the time, died in 1616, his remains were transferred from Shizuoka to Nikko . Soldiers marched along this journey with the remains that would eventually be enshrined at Toshogu Shrine .

Don't Miss

  • Horseback archery performances
  • Procession of 1,000 samurai escorting the spirit of Ieyasu
  • Traditional music and dance performances

How to Get There

Toshogu Shrine can be easily accessed by bus or a long, pleasant walk from Nikko Station.

There are many things to see and do on the trail to Toshogu Shrine . The walk takes about 45 minutes from Nikko Station.

From Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station, you can take the world heritage tour bus which makes stops at the UNESCO Heritage sites including the Toshogu Shrine . The ride will take about 15 minutes.

The grand festival

Shunki Taisai is one of two festivals that celebrates the final journey of Tokugawa Ieyasu's remains. Traditional warrior demonstrations such as horseback archery are performed.

The main event is the march of 1,000 full armored samurais recreating the escort of Tokugawa Ieyasu's remains to Nikko . Watch the noble procession pass by, and at the shrine listen to traditional court music and watch dance performances that celebrate the arrival of the procession.

The festival occurs every year on May 17 and 18. If you miss this event, there is a similar but slightly smaller event in the fall called the Shuki Taisai, or Grand Autumn Festival.

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