Kiriko Festivals in Noto





Nafune Grand Festival

Welcoming the deity from the sea with Gojinjo drums

Cheers for kiriko lanterns climbing a steep hill

Nafune-machi, Wajima City is known for its Gojinjo drum performance. Legend has it that when the army of the lord of Echigo, Kenshin Uesugi, attacked Noto, it was driven away by masked fishermen of Nafune Village beating their drums. People thanked the deity Okutsuhime of Hegura Island for this blessing, and started to play the drums at the festival of Okutsuhime Shrine.
The first highlight of the festival starts at 9:00 pm on the first evening of the festival. The kiriko lanterns gather at Hakusan Shrine, a detached worship place of Okutsuhime Shrine. Hakusan Shrine is located on a steep cliff. The people carrying the lanterns climb the hill carefully so as not to fall, and are encouraged by the cheers of the audience. After that, the kiriko lanterns and the portable shrine are carried to Nafune Beach. The portable shrine is carried on a boat to the torii gate in the sea to meet the deity of Okutsuhime Shrine on Hegura Island. After the portable shrine returns to the beach, the performance of Gojinjo drums starts. The fearful masks and dynamic sound of the drums are impressive. After 11 o’clock at night, the portable shrine and kiriko lanterns are paraded through the town, and a kiriko performance takes place in the square.

Followed by Gojinjo drums

At the main festival on the second day, the portable shrine is carried to the beach. Gojinjo drums on carts lead the portable shrine to purify the streets with their sound. The portable shrine is carried on a boat to the torii gate in the sea to take the deity back to the island. At the square on the beach, a performance of Gojinjo drums takes place, and the festival reaches its climax. The dynamic sound of drums lingers with the festival atmosphere under the summer sky.

Highlights of the festival

●The solemn Shinto ritual of meeting and taking the deity on a boat.
●Powerful people carrying kiriko lanterns up a steep hill.
●Scary demon masks and loud sound of Gojinjo drums.

Day: July 31st / August 1st
Location: Nafune-machi, Wajima City
Google Map
Inquiries: Wajima City Tourism Section (Tel: 0768-23-1146)