Experience the 300-year history

of the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival.

Over 300 Years of History & Tradition at the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Kishiwada City is located along the historic old Kishu Kaido Highway, a road built between Osaka and Wakayama during the Edo period (1603-1868). One of the historical highlights still prevalent today is the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival, or Danjiri Matsuri, which has a history over 300 years old.


The festival is believed to have started by a feudal lord of Kishiwada Castle named Okabe Nagayasu (1650-1724) in 1703. The original idea was to invite Inari, the goddess of rice based at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, as a means of increasing the chances of a good harvest in the local area.


There are currently several Danjiri Matsuri located around Japan, but the Kishiwada version is considered to be the most famous of them all.

What Are Danjiri?

Danjiri are adorned with beautiful carvings that display masterful local craftsmanship.

The term danijiri refers to the wooden floats that have been used at festivals for a long time. Each of the 80 neighborhoods of Kishiwada City are tasked with maintaining their own float. are designed by skilled local carpenters, with intricate wooden carvings with motifs from Japanese myths and stories. In addition, each danjiri is decorated with flags and curtains—the rear flag and the matoi (a standard decorated with hanging strips of paper or leather) are designed so that viewers can clearly see which town the danjiri is from, even from a distance. Each danjiri is a symbol of the local people, and because they visit shrines, each is treated very carefully.



Yarimawashi - The Thrill of Danjiri Matsuri

A thrilling scene from the Danjiri Matsuri.

Each danjiri weighs around four tons, with a length and height of about four meters. A team of participants from each neighborhood pulls each danjiri down a specific parade route. They move at a breakneck speed, which adds a sense of excitement and danger for all those involved, and receives cheers from spectators! There is even a word to describe the act of turning a wooden danjiri at speed, without slowing down, around a corner at 90 degrees—yarimawashi—a shocking, impressive sight that you have to see firsthand to truly comprehend.


Many Danjiri Matsuri across Japan create routes where yarimawashi can be conducted safely. However, at the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, some incredibly tight locations are also used, increasing the levels of adrenaline for those participating and watching. Teamwork and physical strength is required of all participants to ensure that the danjiri turn around those corners with ease. Speed is essential, and timing is kept by musical instruments and the chanting participants. These tight quarters don’t have many spectators, but they are highly sought after because of close proximity to the danjiri.

You can really feel the speed as they haul the danjiri!

One person is selected to stand on the roof of the danjiri, a position of honor called daikugata. This individual is selected by self-recommendation or the recommendation of others, and is tasked with performing a ritualistic dance using a traditional fan. They are also expected to help shift weight at opportune times, to ensure the danjiri are able to turn a corner during yarimawashi.



How to Appreciate the Danjiri Matsuri

Be sure to follow the manners and rules of the festival for a fun and safe time.

The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is divided by area, and occurs twice a year; once in mid-September and once in early October. The festival is held over a weekend, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and, and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. From around 7 p.m., the danjiri are adorned with lanterns, which creates a unique nighttime atmosphere.  


Maps of the festival route are available in English from the Danjiri Information Center for Foreign Tourists. Visitors are welcome to visit any part of the course during the festivities. However, visitors are not allowed to enter the path of the danjiri which are clearly taped off for safety reasons.



Kishiwada Danjiri Hall

A retired danjiri from Kamiyacho made in 1841 on display at the Kishiwada Danjiri Hall.

For those who want to learn about the festival when it isn’t being held, head over to Kishiwada Danjiri Hall, a museum dedicated to the Danjiri Festival. Visitors can see the oldest danjiri known to have graced the city streets up close, and learn about the festival’s history. Other highlights include an exhibit on the intricate wood carvings found on the danjiri and the happi jacket adorned with the neighborhood logo worn by participants. If you want to experience the honorary position of standing at the top of the danjiri during the parade, be sure to visit the 3D Danjiri Vision and Experience Corner!


The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last entry at 4 p.m. It is regularly closed on Mondays (except when a national holiday falls on Monday), and from December 29 to January 3. The admission fee is ¥600 for adults and ¥300 for children. It is within walking distance of both Takojizo Station and Kishiwada Station, both served by the Nankai Main Line.


For information on private tours to experience the charms of the Danjiri Festival, contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

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