Kiriko Festivals in Noto





Wajima Grand Festivals

Four late-summer festivals that excite the entire city

Wajima’s hottest day spent with lacquered kiriko lanterns

“Wajima Grand Festivals” refers to the summer festivals of four areas in the center of Wajima City (Okutsuhime Shrine in Ama-machi, Shigekura Shrine in Kawai-machi, Sumiyoshi Shrine in Fugeshi-machi and Wajimasaki Shrine in Wajimazaki-machi). All of them are held to allow the deities to enjoy the coolness of summer evenings. The parades consist of kiriko lanterns decorated with the famous Wajima lacquer. The four festivals are carried out in succession, and the entire city is filled with energy during the festival period.

Parade of a portable shrine carried by young men in female costumes

The first festival is the festival of Okutsuhime Shrine. The main shrine is located on Hegura Island near Wajima Port, but now the festival is carried out in Satomiya, Ama-machi. The portable shrine is carried by young men with rouge on their cheeks, dressed in colorful women’s costumes. On the evening of the first day of the festival, when the portable shrine goes into the sea from Sodegahama Beach, children on the beach pull the ropes tied to the portable shrine, and it lurches forward and backward. The longer this lasts, the better the fish catch is said to become.

Fighting for the gohei attached to a torch

A feature of the festival of Shigekura Shrine is the yakko (footman) lantern that follows the portable shrine. The lantern is decorated beautifully with maki-e and blue shells. Lit up by the kiriko, it shines more beautifully. The feature of the ceremony in Wajima Port Marine Town is a big pillar torch. Its top is shaped like a hat, and attached with ropes and three gohei. The portable shrine makes three turns around the burning torch, and people fight to get the gohei. when the torch has fallen.

Simple parade of bamboo kiriko

At the festival of Sumiyoshi Shrine, a torch ceremony is held at the delta of the Wajima River. The dynamic scene of kiriko lanterns starting to dash to the delta is impressive. The portable shrine is led by drummers wearing goblin and demon masks, and lanterns attached to the top of 4~5m long bamboo stalks.

A portable shrine in the unique shape of a sea bream

The last festival is the festival of Wajimasaki Shrine. The portable shrine is shaped like a sea bream to express the wish for good catches and safe fishing. The portable shrine, accompanied by kiriko lanterns, is rushed along the narrow streets of the town. At the port, fishing boats with colorful banners line up and raise the festive mood. The climax is the torch ceremony. The community’s fortune is determined according to the direction in which the pillar torch falls. It is said that if the torch falls towards the mountains, the harvest will be good, and if it falls towards the sea, the fish catches will be good.

Structure of kiriko

In general, the longitudinal poles used to carry kiriko are made of red pine, and the boards at both ends of the poles are oak. The kiriko of Wajima City Central Shopping Arcade Promotion Association has a very interesting structure. The carvings for attaching the longitudinal poles are shallow, and the longitudinal poles are combined with side poles in parallel crosses so that the kiriko can be carried from all directions. The side poles are curved at the joint, so that the load can be applied to them as well. Thus, the load applied to the longitudinal poles is decreased. (By Eiji Kumazawa)

The kiriko was disassembled and examined in cooperation with Wajima City Central Shopping Arcade Promotion Association.

The kiriko’s minute decoration and functional beauty represent the long-preserved wisdom and skills of the people of ancient times.

©2016 Kumazawa-lab. All Rights Reserved. Cooperation: Wajima Kiriko Hall, Wajima City Central Shopping Arcade Promotion Association

Eiji Kumazawa
Ishikawa National College of Technology Department of Architecture Associate Professor / Doctor of Engineering

Highlights of the festival

●Festivals with different characteristics take place in succession.
●Ceremony to wish for good catches held in the sea at dusk (Okutsuhime Shrine Grand Festival)
●Fighting for the sacred paper strips of the torch for honor (Shigekura Shrine Grand Festival)


August 22 Okutsuhime Shrine Grand Festival (Ama-machi)

August 23 Shigekura Shrine Grand Festival (Kawai-machi)

August 24 Sumiyoshi Shrine Grand Festival (Fugeshi-machi)

August 25 Wajimasaki Shrine Grand Festival (Wajimazaki-machi)

Day: August 22th ~ 25th
Location: Central part of Wajima City (Ama-machi/Ama-machi/Fugeshi-machi/Wajimazaki-machi)
Google Map
Inquiries: Wajima City Tourism Section (Tel: 0768-23-1146)