Festivals

In Misasa, there are three main festivals during the year.

// "Hanayu Festival" in May (花湯まつり)

* Description:

Misasa's Hanayu Festival is an event that celebrates the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha with a giant tug of war called Jinsho. The festival is also a way to give thanks for the healing properties of the hot springs. The Jinsho is the main event of the Hanayu Festival. It is made up of two parts, male and female. Each part is built with plaited creepers of wisteria and can be about 80m long, up to 1.5m wide and 2 tons in weight. After the male and female parts of the rope have been successfully connected the tug of war will start at the Ryokumon (the green arch) and at that point the two teams (East and West) begin to pull. It is said that if the East wins, farming will be plentiful, and if the West wins commerce will be prosperous. This event has been held since the old times and in the year of 1873 it was shaped as we know it today. It is said that touching the rope prevents illness. Every year, many local residents and tourists come to participate in the tug of war. 

(The jinsho has been classified as a national cultural asset by the Japanese government in 2009)

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// "Marie Curie Festival" in August (キュリー祭)

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Since the first edition back in 1951, the Marie Curie Festival became one of the most important festivals of the town. Misasa’s hot springs are known all over Japan because they are rich in radium, and this festival has been created as homage to the Polish-French scientist Marie Curie who discovered radium. So, it is a great occasion to be thankful for Misasa’s hot springs and also to reinforce the friendship between Misasa and France. The first Marie Curie Festival was one of the founding events of cultural exchange between Misasa and France. And it lasts since more than fifty years on every August. In 2012, it was the 56th Marie Curie Festival and was on August 4th.
Among a ceremony in Marie Curie's honor and several performances, the festival includes the main event called “Waiwai Parade”. It is a parade during which Misasa’s inhabitants perform traditional dances of the town like “Misasa Kouta”.

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// "Mount Mitoku Sanbutsu-ji's Fire Festival" in October (三徳山三佛寺 『炎の祭典』)

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"Honoo no saiten" is the fire festival of Sanbutsu-ji, the main temple in Mount Mitoku.
Every year, on the last Sunday of October, the main event of the festival starts with prays in front of Sanbutsu-ji. Then, after few opening rituals, monks set a fire and start throwing wishes written on pieces of wood in it.
To finish, monks set a second fire and build a small wooden "bridge". Every one who want to do so can walk on this bridge while it is burning.

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