At this festival you will see seven beautifully decorated floats known as Mikurumayama. Each of the floats belongs to one of the seven local boroughs called “Yamacho,” which safely keeps and decorates the floats in their own fashion. These beautiful floats each boast in detail many of Takaoka’s brilliant and traditional craftwork such as metal smithing, lacquering and dyeing. The parade through town begins at noon of the day of the festival after all the floats have gathered. Standing tall and bold, these Mikurumayama floats are the star of the festival. The wheels creek under the weight of the parading floats, and the closer you get, the more you are impressed by their presence. The Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri was listed as one of Unesco’s intangible cultural assets on December 1st, 2016. This festival has been continued by locals for more than 400 years.
Compare the decorations of each borough
Each of the town’s seven boroughs has their own Mikurumayama, which features a distinct decoration on top known as the Hokodome. The Hokodome each boast different shapes, depicting things like butterflies, bells called Gokorei—even roosters—and along with the costumes of the pullers, bring a vibrant decorative side to the festival for viewers to enjoy comparing. The Happi jackets worn as costumes, just like the Hokodome, also represent each borough with designs of dragons, wheels and red snappers.
Feel the history through the sound of the wheels
You can’t miss the sound of wood cracking and screeching as the floats parade the town. This sound is made possible thanks to the long enduring and dedicated watch and protection by the Takaoka locals. When the floats go around corners or make U-turns, the sound can be heard even louder, accompanied by the calls and cheers of the participating men. Be taken back in time by distinct sound of the wheels!
Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri is held annually on May 1 in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.
Location & Contact Information
Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri
http://www.mikurumayama.jp/ (Only in Japanese)