Iwakuni Festival – Feel the Liveliness of Iwakuni Citizens in Yamaguchi


Iwakuni Festival (岩国祭- Iwakuni Matsuri) is held for local people to create bright lives and great communities by taking advantage of Iwakuni culture during the third weekend of October. Iwakuni Festival fascinates people regardless of nationalities because of the variety of performances and warmth of Iwakuni citizens. In this article, I am going to show you the characteristics of Iwakuni city, which history started in Nara period (710~784) and how fun the festival is.

History of Iwakuni City

The history of Iwakuni city dates back to the Nara Period. Iwakuni city was a connecting hub on a sea route to Setonaikai (Seto Inland Sea), so a lot of people such as diplomats, officials, and merchants went through Iwakuni city. Manyoushu – one of the old poetry books, describes how dynamic the city was. In the 16th century, Kikkawa Hiroie, who was the Busho and a captain in the battle, established Iwakuni culture. Kikkawa put importance on both academic success and martial arts. His spirit inherited Iwakuni residents of that century, and it became a part of the local culture. Thus, even now when you mingle with local people at the Iwakuni Festival, you can feel people’s vitality grown in place of trade for a long time and Kikkawa’s spirit as well.

What Can You Do at Iwakuni Festival

When you join the Iwakuni Festival, you will see band and dance performances by local children. Also, you can enjoy shopping at a  flea market and trying new food from the food stalls which line up along city blocks. The main part of this event is the parade of dancers and drummers in traditional clothes. Also, you shouldn’t miss  Iwakuni symbolic white snake dances. You should be overwhelmed by the performance.

Here is a link on the video of the performance. URL:

Iwakuni White Snake

Iwakuni city is the only place in Japan where a white snake inhabits, and the snake is regarded as a lucky god, so it appears at the Iwakuni Festival. At the festival, the big white snake greets the audience, and you might get an opportunity to pet the head or body of the snake for good luck, so do not forget to seat in front!

Famous Food in Iwakuni City

Iwakuni city is famous for Iwakuni Zushi, which is a specific kind of sushi. Iwakuni Zushi has a square shape and has layers of chirashi zushi. This zushi was a preserved food for Bushi military officers in the feudal period, during the battle of Sekigahara in the 16th century. Even now, people love the taste as they did in the old times. You should love Iwakuni Zushi as well!

Details and Access

Dates: 20th October, 21st October 2018. Held annually during the third weekend of October

Place: Around Iwakuni Station. Downtown area

Address: 1-1, Marifumachi, Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Access: By direct flight from Tokyo

ANA flies from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport daily and buses take you to Iwakuni Station for 200 Yen from the airport.

By direct highway buses from major cities

Night buses by Kintetsu Bus connect Osaka Station, Osaka’s Namba Station, Kobe’s Sannomiya Bus Terminal, Kyoto Station, and Iwakuni Station. This journey in a highway bus will take you about 7 – 9.5 hours and will cost 6500~7500 Yen one way.

Closing Remarks

How can you experience Japanese culture? Some people might say you should go to the temple, or other people might tell you should visit a great Japanese restaurant. Of course, I think you can experience a part of Japanese culture there. However, you will be able to feel the liveliness of people when you attend festivals in Japan because Japanese people perform their traditional dances to show their spirit that inherited from people a long time ago. Iwakuni festival is one of those great festivals. You will feel the power of people and local communities, and enjoy Japanese culture at Iwakuni Festival!

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!


Do You Like Dances?

How about watching or even taking part in Japanese dance festivals. The festivals are very different, and you can see either traditional dances and hear the music that had not changed with time, or visit more contemporary dance events.  Anyway, what`s a festival without dancing? There are so many dance festivals in Japan that sometimes it is hard to choose one. Following article collected Best Dancing Festivals in Japan. Please have a look and pick your favorite!

Hi, my name is Lala. I am proud of Japanese culture, which is so unique and wonderful. I also love writing in English! I’m going to show you how great is Japan!

Written on

Other Events You May Like