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Unmissable Autumn Events in Shikoku to visit!

October to November in Japan is the season of autumn festivals. Among the festivals and events held in various locations, we have picked out a few that are easy to stop by while you are walking the Shikoku pilgrimage. If your schedule allows, please stop by and take a look.

October 16- , Niihama Taiko Festival, Ehime Prefecture

Niihama Taiko Festival (Large float to carry taiko) is one of the three largest festivals in Shikoku, along with Tokushima’s Awaodori Dance and Kochi’s Yosakoi Festival. The origin of the festival is said to date back to the Heian period (794-1185), and it is said to be the origin of similar festivals found along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea. Each district of Niihama City has its own huge, gorgeous “taiko-dai” float, which is pulled by the residents of the district and paraded through the city.

The highlight of the festival is a contest of strength called “Kakikurabe”. The wheels of the taiko stands are removed and the floats, which weigh approximately 3 tons, are lifted by the manpower of about 150 men in this powerful performance. The “kenka” (fight), in which the taiko floats collide directly with each other, is the most exciting part of the festival.

The festival attracts more than 100,000 spectators every year, and there are changes in train and bus schedules and traffic restrictions. Be aware that many local stores will be closed. For more information on the taiko drumming and the venue for the kakikurabe, please check the website below.

DateOctober 16 (Monday) – October 18 (Wednesday), 2023
VenueVarious locations in Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture
Related websiteNiihama City https://www.city.niihama.lg.jp/soshiki/kankou/riwayonenntaikomaturi.html
Nearest templeTemple 64 Maegami-ji, Temple 65 Sankaku-ji

November 1, Annual Festival at Ōasahiko Shrine, Tokushima Prefecture

Ōasahiko Shrine is a representative shrine in Tokushima Prefecture and it has a long and distinguished history for more than 1,100 years. The most important event is the annual autumn festival, affectionately known locally as “Ōasa-san’s Autumn Festival. The Shinto shrine’s (Shinko-sai) ritual begins at 2:00 p.m., with a procession of portable Shinto Shrine and a large number of attendants along a 1km path to the Otabisho shrine (a place to install a portable shrine) near the Otorii gate.

DateNovember 1 (Wednesday), 2023 from 10:30 a.m.
VenueŌasahiko Shrine, Hirotsuka 13, Bandouhigashi, Ōasa-cho, Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture
Related websiteŌasahiko Shrine https://www.ooasahikojinja.jp/
Nearest templeTemple1 Ryozen-ji

November 3, Zentsūji Temple, Kukai Festival, Kagawa Prefecture,

November 3 is said to be the anniversary of the death of Saeki Yoshimichi, father of Kobo Daishi Kukai. On that day, the precincts of Zentsūji, Temple 75, will be decorated with colorful banners and five-colored rugs, and the “Kukai Festival” will be held. A memorial service for the ancestors of the Saeki family will be held, a palanquin carrying a statue of Kobo Daishi will parade through the city, and various other events will be held, such as “Crying Sumo” and “Lion Dance Dedication”. There is also a flea market and a food and drink corner, where visitors can enjoy the local atmosphere.

DateNovember 3, 2023 (Friday, and also National Holiday)
VenueTemple75, Zentsūji
3-3-1 Zentsuji-cho, Zentsuji City, Kagawa Prefecture
Related websiteSōhonzan Zentsuji Temple https://zentsuji.com/

November 6, Wakamiya Hachimangū Shrine, Goshinkōsai Festival, Kochi Prefecture

This festival is held every year on November 6 at Wakamiya Hachimangū Shrine, marked by a dignified bronze statue of Chōsokabe Motochika, a hero of Shikoku during the Sengoku (Warring States) period. Highlights of the festival include a boy dressed in women’s clothing slowly advancing while performing a long sword dance, and a full lineup of the Tosa Clan’s Oteppogumi (firearms troops). The approach to the shrine is lined with street stalls and crowded with worshippers.

DateNovember 6 (Monday), 2023
VenueWakamiya Hachimangū, 6600 Nagahama, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture
Related websiteWakamiya Hachimangū http://wakamiya-kochi.com/shrine_festival.html
Nearest templeTemple 33, Sekkei-ji

November 12, Hashikura-ji Temple Autumn Grand Festival, Tokushima Prefecture

Hashikura-ji Temple is an ancient temple in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, said to have been founded by Kobo Daishi in 828. The temple is located near the summit of 633-meter-high Mt. Hashikura and is the 15th of the Bekkaku 20 sacred places on Shikoku. The Autumn Grand Festival is held on November 12, the anniversary of Konpira Daigongen. After the memorial service, a lucky rice cake toss will be held.

DateNovember 12, 2023 (Sunday) from 12:00 p.m.
VenueHashikura-ji Temple, 1006, Shuzuzodani, Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-city, Tokushima
Related websiteHashikura-ji Temple http://www.hashikura.or.jp/?page_id=138
Nearest templeTemple 67, Daiko-ji

November 18, Ashizuri Kirari, Kochi Prefecture

Ashizuri Kirari is an annual night event held in autumn at Cape Ashizuri, the southernmost tip of Shikoku, which is decorated with candlelights to create a fantastic world. The area is designated as Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park, where there is a white lighthouse lit in 1914 and a nature trail.

Date18 (Saturday) – 19 (Sunday), 2023 16:00 – 21:00
VenueKongōfukuji Temple, Cape Ashizuri Tip Park, Tosashimizu City, Kochi Prefecture
Related websiteTosashimizu City
Nearest templeTemple 38, Kongōfuku-ji

November 22- ,Ichijyō Grand Festival, Kochi Prefecture

Ichijō Shrine is a historic shrine built in 1862 in Nakamura, Shimanto City, and known affectionately as “Ichijoko-san” by the locals. The Ichijyō Grand Festival is held annually at Ichijyō Shrine from November 22 to 24. 22nd Yoimiya (eve of a festival vigil) begins with the dedication of the sacred fire brought from Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto to the main shrine. 23rd and 24th, the main festival is held in the shrine, and other events such as chigo gyoretsu (children’s procession) and dedication of Kagura (sacred Shinto music and dance) are also held. The approach to the shrine is lined with street stalls and crowded with worshippers.

DateNovember 22 (Wednesday) – November 24 (Friday), 2023
VenueIchijō Shrine, 1-3 Nakamura Honmachi, Shimanto City
Related websiteShimanto City Tourism Association 
Nearest templeTemple 37 Iwamoto-ji, Temple 38 Kongōfuku-ji