Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
The 2017 Tenjin Festival In Osaka - Highlights, Schedule, And Access
The Tenjin Festival is held annually in Osaka on July 24th-25th. One of the three largest festivals in all of Japan, here is the 2017 event schedule, access routes, and locations in Osaka.
Written by Mayu
What Is the Tenjin Festival?
© (Public goods) Osaka Sightseeing Association
The Tenjin Festival is a festival held every year on July 24th and 25th at the Osaka Tenmangu Shrine. It's counted as one of Japan's three large festivals along with Kyoto's Gion Festival and Tokyo's Kanda Festival.
Sugawara Michizane, a highly educated member of the nobility from the Heian period is enshrined at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine as the god of learning. The Tenjin Festival is held to show the prosperity of Osaka and for the people of this city to pray for business prosperity and their health. The Tenjin Festival is unique in Japan and is famous for its long lines of people wearing historical costumes and for the fancy boats decorated with electric bulbs flowing down Osaka's Okawa River.
The festival is held on both July 24th and 25th, but it becomes particularly lively on the second day. The long parades of people in costumes, the operation of the boats, the fireworks, and everything that draws your eyes are all set on the second day.
We will now introduce the schedule, access guide, and the sights to enjoy during the 2017 Tenjin Festival.
Tenjin Festival Schedule (2017 Edition)
The 2017 Tenjin Festival schedule is as listed below. The Tenjin Festival is held on the same day every year.
Schedule: July 24th (Tuesday) - 25th (Wednesday) 2017
A more in-depth schedule is listed below.
Yoimiya Yasai (7:45-8:30)
At Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, the Shinto priest prays for the sound health of all through a ceremony involving the use of a pike. This ritual is called hokonagashi shinji.
The Hokonagashi Procession (From 8:30)
The priests and the people dressed in traditional Japanese costumes head from Osaka Tenmangu to Hokonagashi Bridge, where the ceremony is held. The bridge is located in front of Tenmangu Police Station. It's a smaller parade than the next day's procession.
Hokonagashi Shinji (From 8:50)
To wash away any impurities of the soul, the priests drop sacred pikes and paper cut in the shape of people into the river.
Waterfront Ritual (From 18:40)
Several small boats with Noh performances being held on them float out in the Osaka Amenity Park Harbor. These outdoor Noh performances are done by firelight at night, and have an ethereal charm to them, making them a must-see sight during the Tenjin Festival.
On the 24th, there is also a drum show called the Moyoshi drums, that is held near the shrines. Additionally, there are shishimai (lion dance) performances within the Osaka Amenity Park and at the Imperial Hotel Osaka.
Honmiya Festival (13:30-14:30)
The priest prays for the city's peace and development at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine.
The Rikuto Parade Starts (From 15:30)
A large parade of 3,000 people wearing costumes and yukata from the Heian period and Edo period departs from Osaka Tenmangu Shrine carrying an omikoshi. The line moves around the city through a three kilometer road including Oimatsucho, Shinmidosuji, and the northern side of the municipal office to Tenjinbashi.
Boat Crossing (18:00-21:00) and Fireworks (From 19:00)
100 boats carrying 10,000 people flow down the Okawa River through Osaka. The fireworks start at 19:00, and a great number of people gather near and along the river banks.