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Peony Festival at Yakyu Inari Shrine | Higashimatsuyama
April 20 @ 09:00 - May 7 @ 16:00
Peony Festival at Yakyu Inari Shrine – Yakyu Inari Shrine is located in Higashimatsuyama, Saitama, just 1 hour and 10 minutes from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo line. It is one of many shrines to the God Inari. However, what makes it special is that its Chinese characters (“Yakyu” 箭弓) are pronounced the same as the Japanese for baseball (野球). It has thus come to be known as the baseball shrine.
Beside it is a peony garden with an equally interesting back story: the founder of Tobu railway donated the 1300 peony (as well as pine trees and wisteria) that are planted in the peony garden in commemoration of the opening of the railway in 1923.
Peony Festival at Yakyu Inari Shrine
The peonies start to come into bloom in mid April. By the end of April the wisteria and azalia are also in bloom and the peony garden looks radiant. Many tourists visit during this time. There are some food stalls available during the peony festival at yakyu inari shrine as well as some traditional events over Golden week and on select dates in April.
Events during peony festival at Yakyu Inari
The festival has an opening ceremony on the 20th of April from 11 am. On the 22nd there is a shinto dance performance. You can see hikizuri mochi on the 24th. There are Taishogoto (nagoya string harp) performances on the 27th.
The 28th is one of the principal dates of the festival with a day of special performances including one of my favourites: shishimai. The shishimai is scheduled for three different times: 10.30 am, 1 pm and 2.30 pm. On the same day they also have a type of Japanese street performance called nankin tamasudare which is a witty performance of poetry as story telling with a woven straw screen as a prop. It is very hard to describe, but mesmerizing to watch. The final act on that day is Hawaiian Hula dancing.
During Golden week there are various music and dance performances most of which are traditional Japanese, such as Taiko, street performing with ladders and tea ceremony.
The full line up is only available in Japanese: here.
Peony festival at Yakyu Inari Access
As you might expect given the connection with the Tobu railway, this park is close to a station: Higashimatsuyama station on the Tobu Tojo line is only a minute walk away.
There is parking for about 100 cars during the festival. The main car park holds about 15 car parks and they open another open space up for parking during this festival and a handful of other festivals during the year.
More information on Yakyu Inari on this blog:
There is also a peony festival at Botanen also in Higashimatsuyama (click here).
For more events in Saitama please see the main events calendar.