Itsukushima Shrine Reitaisai 2019 – Experience a Local Festival in Yamagu



Itsukushima Shrine locates in Shimonoseki city of Yamaguchi prefecture. This shrine holds the festival named “Reitaisai” (Reitai Festival) once a year on the third weekend of October. This festival is not an ordinary festival you see in other cities. It is more like a secret and private local community event. If you are interested in Japanese religion and the local community, Reitaisai at Itsukushima shrine is the one event for you to go. Let’s take a look at this festival and things you can do in Shimonoseki City.

About Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima shrine has a long history. It relates to the Taira clan who came in power at the end of the Heian Period. Taira family was defeated and eliminated at the battle of Dannoura, the historical war by Minamoto clan. The last emperor was from the Taira clan was Antoku emperor. He was only seven years old when the battle of Dannoura occurred. And he had to finish his life not knowing who he was. He is an emperor with a tragic destiny who was tossed around the era. This shrine worships separated spirits from Aki Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima prefecture and quells Taira family who lost their lives in the ocean during the battle.

About Reitai Festival

Itsukushima Shrine Reitai Festival is a relatively small festival which rooted as a tradition in the community. It takes place in Kamishinchi town in the Shimonoseki area of Yamaguchi prefecture. The concept of this festival is to show the appreciation to the harvest and to wish the same for the next year. People from this small town gather in traditional Japanese festival costumes called “Happi” and parade through the town with an original float with a rhythm of Japanese drums.

This festival is not something extraordinary but reflects the culture of the little community and its traditions in a private way. This festival is for someone who is interested in exploring the ordinary life of Japanese people.

Festival Breakdown

This festival is a two-day festival. It takes place on the third weekend of October every year, from Saturday to Sunday. The specific date of the festival is not announced yet at this moment, but you can check it on the homepage of the shrine if you are interested. You will see local people carrying small floats with a Shinto priest quietly. And local people there come to visit the shrine to show their appreciation to God and wish for the best in the next harvest year. Although Reitaisai is a festival, it is not commercialized or has entertainments like at a usual festival. It is a very spiritual and holy event.

Things to Do in Shimonoseki City

Shimonoseki city offers a lot of tourist spots to visit. One thing that will amaze you is its natural landscape! Shimonoseki city is around the ocean. You can go to Kanmon Park for example. You will see some exhibitions or a performance related to the battle of Dannoura in the park. Otherwise, you can just walk around the park and enjoy the sea breeze.

If you love the local food, why don’t you go to Karato Fishmarket? Shimonoseki city is famous for fishing, and you can try fresh seafood at Karato market. You may find some unique sea creatures which you can only see in Japan.

Details and Access

Dates: Third weekend of October every year. October 19th, 20th, 2019 (estimated)

Venue: Itsukushima Shrine

Address: 1 Chome-1-11 Kamishinchicho, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Official Website (Japanese Only):


By bus

About 5 minutes bus ride from Shimonoseki Station. Get off at Itsukushima Shrine Mae Stop

Closing Remarks

The “Reitaisai” (Reitai Festival) at Itsukushima Shrine is a secret and private local event. This festival differs from what you usually see at other festivals in Japan. You can see real Japanese culture and customs during this festival.

You can find out more about this festival and the city by getting to know locals prior to your trip. Click on the Huber. banner and connect with locals before your trip and make your journey more rewarding!

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

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Yogi and Snowboarder. Love to explore nature and to meet new people. Currently, residing in the Kansai area in Japan.

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