Iida-machi is located in the center of Suzu City. The summer festival of Kasuga Shrine is held to invite deities to enjoy a cool evening during the hottest time of the year. The festival is said to date back to the Kanei era of the Edo period.
The festival features three gorgeous toroyama, or gigantic 16-meter-tall festival floats topped by a six-meter-tall doll. Each float weighs about five tons. The float is composed of several layers which are called, from the bottom to the top, jiyama, yatai, wakushoji, kodai, and odai. It is decorated with a lot of paper lanterns. There are several views about the origin of the doll, one of which is that it was modeled on the doll used on a Nebuta float in Aomori.
In the evening of the first day of the festival, the “sakaki portable shrine” is carried on a platform with Cleyera japonica (sakaki) branches to a temporary resting place near the beach, followed by three toroyama and six other floats. After a Shinto ritual, the toroyama and the floats are paraded around the town. The sight of the dolls on the toroyama swaying vigorously from side to side has an overwhelming impact. When night falls, the light from the toroyama looks all the more vivid, and invigorates the festival. Around 8:00 p.m., all of the toroyama and other floats line up on Azumabashi Bridge over the Wakayama River. Fireworks are set off, and the night sky is transformed into a brightly colored painting. The lights of the toroyama and the fireworks are reflected on the surface of the river, creating a world of fantasy.
The evocative festival song, called “Kyarage,” livens up the proceedings. The song’s title is said to be related to “Kiyari-uta” (woodcutters’ song). The lyrics vary from town to town — a fact that adds to the song’s charm.
●Gorgeous toroyama with a doll and numerous paper lanterns.
●Beautiful reflections of the lights of toroyama and festival floats on the river.
●Evocative tune of the festival song “Kyarage”.
Day: July 20th and 21st
Location: Iida-machi, Suzu City
Inquiries: Suzu City Tourism Promotion Section (Tel: 0768-82-7776)