Nada no Kenka Matsuri- a Fighting Festival


If you are around the Sanyo Himeji Station, you should take the Sanyo Dentetsu Honsen Line. About ten minutes later you will get to the Shirahama-no-miya Station. Then get off the train, take a three minutes walk. Soon you will find you are in front of the Matsubara Hachiman Shrine. If you arrived there at the right time of the year, say October 14th and 15th, there must be quite crowed, for the Nada no Kenda Matsuri festival is held there. Yes, that right. The great festival will be held at Shirahama-cho Ko, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, on October 14th and 15th. .  You would never miss it.

This is a festival of fighting! On that day hundreds portable shrine will gathered at the shrine and jolted against one another. For this reason, many local people also call it ‘Fighting Festival’. The strong men will carry these portable shrines on their shoulder, and cracking each other during the parade. In this completion, there are no detailed rules about how to “fight”. Everyone take part in this festival will play the “fighting” randomly. And when a shrine is crashed on the top of the others, the game is over. The most exciting part of the festival is about the fighting between three shrines. In this part the men whose age is over thirty five will wear white headbands. The men who is between the age of the twenty six and thirty five will wear yellow headbands, and those under twenty six are red headbands. All of these people will have a bamboo pole in their hands. Although there are many festivals holding like these every year. But this one is the specialty in Japan. And now it enjoys world wide popularity.

The extraordinary part of the festival is Yatai-neri. It is a parade of “yatai”. First, let me introduce what is yatai. Yatai is a float which is carefully decorated with wood, gold and silver. Yatai is carried by the men who have bamboo poles in their hands. When the night fall, these yatai will be lit up by the men.

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