Kiriko Festivals in Noto





Yanagida Grand Festival

Parade of kiriko floats with lit candles in a rustic mountain festival

Large, simple kiriko without varnish

The Yanagida area of Noto Town is located in the interior of northern Noto, and this festival is held to give thanks for the good harvest of the year. The height of the kiriko accompanying the portable shrine is 13m. It is unvarnished, and has a simple, robust appearance; there are no pictures, and only three Chinese characters at the front and the crest of the shrine at the back. The lanterns are lit by Japanese candles in the traditional way.

Solemn parade in the dark

The number of kiriko floats changes every year. After a Shinto ceremony at Hakusan Shrine, the floats lead five portable shrines to Banba Square, near the Machino River. To the slow rhythm of flutes, gongs and drums, the parade proceeds quietly along the dark road. The carriers’ slow pace and candle lights produce a quaint atmosphere. At the square, a big pillar torch with five sticks with sacred paper strips burns in the center, and the portable shrines and kiriko turn around it slowly. It is believed that the sacred paper strips have the effect of keeping people healthy for one year. When the torch burns down, young people fight for the paper strip, and place it in the alcove or in a high place in their guest room. After the ceremony in the square, the portable shrines and kiriko return to the shrine, and go back and forth three times in the precincts. Food is offered at the altar, and the evening of the festival ends. This is a rustic, calm festival, which is different from the festivals of fishing towns.

A message from Noto residents

You will be enchanted by the scene of unvarnished kiriko floats proceeding slowly along the footpath between rice fields with flickering lights of Japanese candles. We once received a letter saying “I felt somehow nostalgic when I saw a photo of the festival.” Please come to enjoy the atmosphere of the rustic festival of a mountainous area.

Toshio Shibuya Photographer
He has taken photographs of various Noto festivals for half a century. His lifework is “Three types of red that color Noto”.

Highlights of the festival

●Autumn festival with a rustic atmosphere that has retained the original form of a kiriko festival
●13m-tall large unvarnished kiriko
●Slow-paced parade with a nostalgic atmosphere

Day: September 16th and 17th
Location: Yanagida Area, Noto Town
Google Map
Inquiries: Noto Town Furusato Promotion Section (Tel: 0768-62-8532)