A portable shrine off at Kodama Summer Festival

Last year, the Kodama Summer Festival was on for the first time in three years. However, it was a very different festival to normal. This year it will be back to the pre-pandemic way…

Kodama Summer Festival

This annual “mikoshi” (portable shrine) festival occurs in the Kodama area of Honjo City. It is the grand festival of Yasaka Shrine. There are nine portable shrines in the festival, one for each district. It is usually on the same weekend as the Honjo Gion Festival, the weekend of “umi no hi”. Umi no Hi (Marine Day) is an annual public holiday in Japan. Unlike the Honjo Gion Festival, the Kodama Summer Festival is only for one day – generally the Sunday. In 2022, it is on July 16th.

The festival has always offered something slightly different to the norm. It is known for its “fighting shrines”. “Fighting” festival floats is commonplace, but fighting shrines is rarer. But last year, they also offered something quite unique and innovative in my humble opinion. In 2022 only the mikoshi were carried on the tops of cars! How cool is that? It was a clever way to adhere to the advice at that time to avoid close contact and yet gave the spectator festival vibes.

From Honjo Sightseeing Association

Kodama Summer Festival from the official site
Kodama Summer Festival from the official site

Kodama Summer Festival is called as the “Gion Festival of Yasaka”. The fights between portable shrines (mikoshi) nicknamed as the “Kenka (Fight)-Mikoshi” in which brave young people clash with each other are still performed. This is a festival where the strength of young people is highlighted especially in the contrast to the city’s long history.

Source; Honjo Sightseeing English webpage

The featured image, at the top of the post, is also from Honjo Sightseeing website.

You might also like: Kodama Autumn Festival


Event: Kodama Summer Festival

Date: Sunday July 16th 2023

Time: from around noon

Cost: free

Venue: Yasaka Shrine (written as Hachiman on Google Maps) 198 Kodamacho Kodama, Honjo, Saitama 367-0212. View on Google Maps.


The festival is close to the Kodama Station on JR Hachiko line. The festival area is about a five to eight minute walk from the station. On Google Maps.

There is also some parking available.

Find even more things to do in Saitama this summer here.


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