Shinto Festival & Traditional Float Display at Yohashira Shrine

Yohashira Shrine, right in the middle of Matsumoto, is holding its annual 3-day Shinto Festival (神道祭) which features fireworks and a display of the city’s traditional wooden “floats” (called butai) along the main road leading to Matsumoto Castle. Today (Oct. 2nd) is the second day of the festival, so if didn’t get a chance to see it yesterday or are just coming into Matsumoto today, you can still go check it out!

Food stalls and festival decorations at Yohashira Shrine

Food stalls and festival decorations at Yohashira Shrine

Each of the butai floats has its own unique, intricate carvings and a kind of traditional Japanese doll sitting under each float’s roof. As for the fireworks, they aren’t your typical big firework show where huge fireworks are shot into the sky — instead, you can see a special kind of “Niagara” display that make the river look like it’s been set ablaze in colorful line of fire.

Niagara fireworks

Niagara fireworks

One of the butai floats

One of the butai floats

Besides the butai display and fireworks, there will be a Shinto ceremony in the afternoon and live music throughout the late afternoon and evening. And, if you really want to enjoy atmosphere of a typical Japanese festival, go check out the numerous food and game stalls that are set up in front of the shrine and along Nawate Street! They’ll be dishing out favorites like yakisoba, takoyaki, chocolate bananas, and more.

Schedule of events for Oct. 2nd

  • Wooden Float (Butai) Display: 7 a.m—4 p.m., along Daimyocho Street (main street leading to the castle) and in plaza in front of Yohashira Shrine.
  • Shinto Ceremony: 1:30 p.m. at Yohashira Shrine
  • Live Music: 2:40 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m.
  • “Niagara” Fireworks on the Metoba River: Starts at 8:30 p.m. (cancelled in case of heavy rain)
  • Festival Food and Game Stalls: All day!
Butai floats lined up near the shrine

Butai floats lined up near the shrine

Shrine & Festival Map

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