Otoro Otourou festival Iruma

If the Otoro Festival was on in 2023, I missed it. This year I almost missed the information too. But thankfully Google Discover, which is hit and miss these days, delivered an article about the event to my Google News Feed this morning. And the festival is on THIS WEEKEND! The last time I remember checking for this event was in 2022, when it was cancelled for the third year in a row. Whether you are living in Japan long term or just a visiting for a holiday, this festival is worth a visit if you want to experience a lively traditional festival.

Otoro / Otourou festival

Otourou festival matsuri iruma otorou otoro

Officially the spelling is Otourou, but Iruma City spell it as Otoro in their limited information about the festival in English. Otourou is one of those words that is hard to translate into English. The word is actually “tourou” and the “o” in front is honorific. The Otourou festival is spelt in hiragana, not kanji. Without kanji it is hard to say for sure, but generally tourou relates to a lantern and/or lighting. And indeed, the lanterns on the stunning festival floats, and on the streets where the floats are paraded, are lit up at night at this festival.

The Iruma Otourou matsuri is the spring festival of 700 year old Atago Shrine. It is an annual festival held toward the end of April. During the festival floats are paraded up and down Ogimachiya. There are festival stalls and food trucks at the festival. There are also additional events such as “hashigo-nori” ladder acrobatics, taiko performances, and a dedicatory ring entry performance by young sumo wrestlers. Approximately 200,000 people attend the festival over the two day period. Often festivals get cancelled if there is rain, but this one doesn’t. As it is a rain festival it is said that it is lucky if it rains!

Information

Event: Otoro / Otourou Festival 2024 令和6年おとうろうまつり

Dates: Saturday April 20th and Sunday April 21st 2024

Time: from 12 pm to 8 pm on the Saturday and from 1 pm to 8 pm on the Sunday

Cost: there is no admission fee.

Venue: Ogimachiya Street and Atago Shrine, 3 Chome-7-32 Toyooka, Iruma, Saitama 358-0003. View on Google Maps.

The festival is held at the Atago Shrine in Toyooka and along Ogimachiya Street. That street and part of Hanamizuki Street will be closed to traffic on those days. Bus routes will be changed accordingly.

The shrine is a 15 minute walk from Irumashi station. Irumashi station is on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. It is a 39 minute train ride from Ikebukuro station.

Information on the official Iruma City website. The featured photo at the very top of the post is from the Iruma tourism website.

Iruma have another large lantern festival in Autumn: the Iruma Mando Festival.

Editor’s note: this post was temporarily removed from the site during the pandemic, when the festival was cancelled at least three years in a row. It was republished on April 18th for the 2024 event.

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