Kiriko Festivals in Noto





Takojima Kiriko Festival

Gorgeous kiriko carried with the vigorous spirit of a fishing community

Kiriko carriers wearing white make-up and dressed in flashy costumes

Takojima-machi, Suzu City is well-known for having one of the major fishing ports in Ishikawa Prefecture. The kiriko for the autumn festival of Takakurahiko Shrine are movable works of art. They are decorated with elaborate carvings, and completely coated with urushi lacquer, on which gold leaf is lavishly applied. They are said to be among the most beautiful Noto kiriko. Another unique feature is the fact that the kiriko carriers wear white make-up to look like monkeys or messengers of the deity. Also, they are dressed in flashy costumes called dotera and long aprons.
It is customary for each family to serve a festive feast called yobare with their relatives and friends on the first day of the festival, after the daytime parade. After 9:00 p.m., the kiriko assemble and start parading around the town until late at night.

“Hayabune Kyogen,” an Edo-period performing art

On the second day, the road in front of each house is purified with salt. The portable shrine appears together with a festival float called “Taikoyama,” which has a taiko drum on it, and kiriko. The“Hayabune Kyogen” performance at the Kagura-den Hall of the shrine is also a must-see.
Takojima, which prospered from the mid-Edo period through fishing and trade, created its unique kyogen drama by incorporating trendy kabuki elements and songs of the time into the tradition of hayabune (a fast boat to meet and send off a messenger from the imperial court). Three boys for whom it is the year to celebrate their coming-of-age appear in the drama, which tells the story of a boatman who is deeply in love with a geisha and has no will to sail. He has a comical dialogue with a sailor who urges him to start sailing.
Kiriko dance boisterously after the kyogen drama; the way they swing up and down is really dynamic. The spirit of the fishing community comes alive.

A message from Noto residents

Three 20-year-old young men present the “Hayabune Kyogen” drama. Their former classmates, who have moved away, come back home and liven up the stage with enthusiastic shouting. After having given their all to the festival, they leave town, saying, “See you in 365 days.” Be sure to come and see this popular traditional event that helps deepen ties between people.

Sakika Matsuda
She moved back to her hometown of Suzu in 2013. Since then, she has been taking photos that focus on the relationship between Noto’s festivals and its inhabitants.

Highlights of the festival

●Luxurious, elegant kiriko coated with urushi lacquer.
●Kiriko carriers wearing white make-up and dressed in flashy costumes.
●Young men celebrating their coming-of-age present the humorous drama, “Hayabune Kyogen.”

Day: September 10th and 11th
Location: Takojima-machi, Suzu City
Google Map
Inquiries: Suzu City Tourism Promotion Section (Tel: 0768-82-7776)