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Nikko Toshogu Grand Spring & Autumn Festival

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May 16 @ 10:00 am May 17 @ 3:00 pm JST

The Nikko Toshogu Grand Spring and Autumn Festival is an biannual event held at the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan on May 17th and October 17th. If features various traditional Japanese performances and ceremonies, such as a horseback archery demonstration (1pm on the 16th), a sacred dance performance, and a procession of people dressed in traditional samurai costumes.

On the 17th, a grand procession takes place where a portable shrine called mikoshi is carried through town by 1,000 people dressed as samurai.

procession at nikko grand festival
samurai at nikko toshogu grand festival

The procession of 1,000 samurai is from 11am with portable shrines to the Otabi-sho (Sojourn Hall) before returning to Toshogu Shrine to re-enact the burial of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

The festival is held to honor the memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, who is enshrined at the Toshogu Shrine.

During the festival, visitors can witness the ancient art of yabusame, which is horseback archery dating back to the Kamakura period.

horseback archer at nikko toshogu grand festival

The yabusame event involves horseback riders shooting arrows at targets while galloping. This requires a high level of skill and precision, making it an impressive sight to behold.

This procession replicates the funeral of Tokugawa Ieyasu, where his grave was moved from Mt. Kunousan in Shizuoka Prefecture to Nikko.

pagoda at nikko toshogu

The festival is a must-see event for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history.

horse at nikko toshogu grand festival
food stalls at grand festival
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