The Matsuri: How the Japanese Worship “God”

Aug 3, 2019

The Matsuri: How the Japanese Worship “God”

After going to stay in the 328 year old Japanese Inn, I thought it was only appropriate to visit the annual Summer festival in my hometown.

I mean why not, this is also very, very old. In fact this festival is older than the United States of America!

The festival is one of the Kanto Plain (), three major float festivals, and has the tradition of over 300 years.

These 2 festivals are know as the “Grand Festivals of Sawara”. One in the summer and one in the autumn.

Dramatic figurines up to 4m in height ride the top of these spectacular floats, with these figurines representing different gods.

These gods are specific to each individual neighbourhood, of which the citizens of that particular block care for their god in their local neighbourhood dashikaikan.

In the summer festival, the 10 floats of the East are pushed and pulled, all the while chanting and signing in unison, and, no shock here, drinking large amounts of alcohol, in particular what is known as the nectar of the gods; SAKE (rice wine).

The West side autumn festival has 14 floats, where the tradition of worshipping their gods continues today, as it does every year, from centuries ago.

Nothing beat the energy of the incredibly spectacular Summer and Autumn festivals by seeing them up close and in person.

However, not all of you can do that, so pour yourself your own choice of the nectar of the the gods, and enjoy the distant past embodied in the Japanese in the present today!

Overview of the floats

Spinning of the floats


Summer (Gion Matsuri)
July 12(Fri)- July 15(Sun), 2019

Autumn (Shinjuku Suwa Shrine festival)
October 11(Fri) – October 13(Sun), 2019