A portable shrine off at Kodama Summer Festival

The Kodama Summer Festival came back earlier than most after the pandemic. It was one of the few festivals on in the summer of 2022. However, it was quite different to usual. Then last year (2023) it came back as normal. And this year it will be on just like before the pandemic too.

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 2024, it is on July 14th.

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. In 2022 what made it so different to normal – and so unique – was they carried the mikoshi 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

Information

Event: Kodama Summer Festival 2024 こだま夏まつり

Date: Sunday July 14th 2024

Time: from around noon

Cost: there is no admission fee.

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

Access

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.

20180613. Last update June 21st 2024.

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