Takojima Kiriko Festival: Gorgeous Decorated Lanterns and Comic Theater

Guide to Japan Travel Culture

On September 10–11 every year the Takojima Kiriko Festival is held in the city of Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture. Kiriko are large decorated lanterns carried on wooden floats, and kiriko festivals are a living tradition here on the Noto Peninsula. The ones that parade through the Takojima district of Suzu are especially gorgeous, with wooden frames coated with lacquer and gold leaf. The spirited carriers of the kiriko add to the spectacle with their brightly-colored garb. The festival also features the performance of “Hayafune Kyōgen,” a traditional comic play in which a sailor tries to persuade his reluctant captain to stop dallying onshore. Young men from the community put it on at a local shrine, and the audience showers them with confetti. After the play, the kiriko parade the streets again, and the carriers dance enthusiastically to the music of drums and flutes. It is a stirring festival that reveals the vigor of this fishing community.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Kanazawa Cable Television.)

Ishikawa tourism festival Hokuriku Noto Peninsula