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The Genpei Funa Battle parade that takes place on the ocean is part of a prominent Japanese festival. The warriors on the boat wear old Japanese army uniforms. Watching the boats gives you the feeling of being in Japan 830 years ago!
The parade is a part of the Shimonoseki Kaikyo Festival in Shimonoseki city located in the west most end of the main island. The city is famous for its blowfish and the central place of the historical battle – Dan-no-Ura. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the festival and its parade!
Shimonoseki Kaikyo Festival lasts for three days at the beginning of May every year. The festival is one of the three major festivals in Shimonoseki along with Bakan Festival in August and Asia Port Festival in Kanmon, and about 40,000 people visit the festival every year.
The main purpose of the festival is to mourn the death of the emperor Antoku and the Heike clan in the battle of Dan-no-ura in 1185. It was the last battle between the Genji and the Heike clans. The Heike clan lost and the 7-years old emperor Antoku committed suicide by drowning.
During the festival, there are many events to commemorate the emperor. People wear traditional uniforms from the old times and do things such as formal worshipping, rituals and several parades!
The main event of the festival which is the Genpei Funa Battle parade takes place on the ocean. About 80 battleships with red and white banner flags are moving with the wind and have armored soldiers and court ladies to bring back the Battle of Dan-no-Ura.
The most exciting thing about the parade is the feeling of unity between participants and spectators. The ceremony is imposing! Participants and spectators wave their hands at each other, and at the end, the crowd gives big applause to the participants! Through the parade, the visitors and local become one!
At the festival, you can enjoy not only historical action but also eating the local food! On the day of the Genpei Funa Battle parade, Genpei blowfish hot pot provides one bowl for only 300 Yen. However, they can sell 20,000 bowls! The sales start around 10:30 am!
Many local food stands provide food from around 10 am on that day. But I highly recommend you to visit the festival before noon, because they close when they sell everything!
Shimonoseki Kaikyo Festival: May 2 – 4
Genpei Funa Battel Parade: May 3
Main venue: Shimaitoshi Hiroba Park, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Address: 5-50 Karato-Cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
Shimonoseki city tourist association
By public transportation: A 10-minute bus drive from JR Shimonoseki station.
By car: There is plenty of car parking at the various places in the city. However, during the festival, the traffic is bustling, so I highly recommend you to take public transportation.
What do you think about the Genpei Funa Battle parade and the Kaikyo festival? You can see and feel the Japanese history and look at the armored warriors and beautiful old fashion! You will feel becoming one with the locals through the parade which is a fantastic experience! Also, enjoy the local food in Shimonoseki city and try the blowfish!
If you are in Japan around May, I recommend you to visit this festival! If you need any help or have questions, please don’t hesitate and click on the banner below. We are happy to help you anytime!
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!
Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
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