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Mitama Festival in 2017

Another year, another summer, and we headed to Mitama Festival in 2017!  I was better prepared and enjoyed it more than in 2016.  If you don’t know anything about it, it is to honor those who died defending Japan.  Yes, I know that this shrine is quite controversial for many people.  But the festival is one of those events you should visit at least once.

smartphone view of Mitama Festival in 2017

At night, thirty thousand lanterns, stacked as many as ten high, are turned on.  From the main entrance to the main gate, both sides of the road light up.  That’s when the mikoshi (portable shrine) appears.  It is big and weighs about 1000kg. 

Mitama Festival mikoshi
Awa Odori dancers at Mitama Festival in 2017

Men and women who carry it bounce it up and down on their shoulders and occasionally spin it around.  All the while, an enormous crowd cheers them on!  Of course, everyone wants their pictures, and you are in an ocean of mobile phones. 

They take a short break at the main gate, long enough for everyone to catch their breath.  Then, the mikoshi is picked up again and carried to Yasukuni’s main shrine.  Believe me, when I say the whole event can be an experience.  

people walking under Yasukuni shrine torii gate
Mitama Festival 2017 decorations

It’s night, hot, and an enormous number of spectators surround the group carrying the mikoshi.   There is so much excitement.  Everyone leaves tired as their energy is all spent.  But it is fun, friendly, and I recommend it.   

mikoshi near Yasukuni shrine
Mitama Festival in 2017

The Mitama Festival is over now, but it will return another year. If you want to see the shrine’s website click here.  For those with questions or comments, leave them below. I will do my best to answer everyone.

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