江差姥神大神宮渡御祭Esashi Ubagami Daijingu Togyosai

© Esashi Town

© Esashi Town

Esashi Ubagami Daijingu Togyosai is the oldest festival in Hokkaido, which dates back about 370 years. It is a summer festival introducing Esashi’s economic growth of fishing herring in a distant pastその起源はおよそ370余年前にも遡る北海道最古の祭り、江差姥神大神宮渡御祭。はるか遠い江差のニシン景気を現代に伝える夏の大祭だ。武者人形、能楽人形、文楽人形、歌舞伎人形などを配した華麗な山車行列が、毎年8月9日から3日間行われる。姥神大神宮渡御祭と江差追分は、2001年に第1回北海道遺産に認定されている。




. For 3 days from August 9th, he parade annually takes place featuring festival floats, which is decorated with a variety of dolls such as warrior dolls and kabuki dolls. The festival is designated as a Hokkaido Heritage in 2001.

With 13 floats, people walk around the town featuring festival music play and flags. One of the highlight of the festival is a ritual event called “yadoire”, which is shown on 10th. To place Ubagami Daijingu back in the worship hall, it is hard to place at one time. People need trying again and again to place it. Once it is placed, people keep clapping hands and singing songs of joy in the worship hall.

The festival reaches the final day on 11th at the crossing of Shinchi-cho and Kenjo Inari Shrine. The floats gathers one after another, with an air of excitement, calls and singing. The biggest highlight is “dashidate”, which is to build a conifer tree high above on the stand, and “kirigoe”, which people sing songs to finish the festival.

Each float has its own tradition depending on the region, and is passed on from generation to generation. Young participants prepare for the festival for months to compete the festival music play. This festival is certainly one of few festivals in Hokkaido, where is young in its history, as one of the popular ritual festival in Japan.

Esashi Ubagami Daijingu Togyosai
Date: Every August 9th – 11th
Address: Esashi-cho, Hokkaido
Tel: 0139-52-4815 (Esashi Tourism and Convention Association)

Translation: Mariko Takei

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