Winter

Kakeyo Festival – Unique and Traditional Codfish Matsuri in Akita!

Maggie

Writer

Kakeyo festival, also known as Tara (Codfish) festival takes place on February 4th every year at Seishi Park in Nikaho city, Akita prefecture. Kakeyo (掛魚) means the fish which fishermen offer to the shrine. The festival has been a part of the Nikaho city’s traditions for more than 300 years. The main feature of the festival is big codfishes hanging on the rough ropes one by one. Each cod weighs about 10 kg. Two people carry each codfish around the town during the festival. Then, they serve it in front of the god of Konoura Yama Shrine praying for maritime safety and big catches. After the ceremony, they cook codfishes in a big pot and you can eat the famous miso base cod soup Tara jiru (たら汁) at Seishi park together with locals.


Highlights of the Festival

The festival starts with the parade around 10 am from the Konoura fishing port. Locals carry big winter Tara for 2 km around the town. At the port, they have a praying ceremony, Miko no mai (Morning Glory dance) and Shishi mai (Lion dance). The route starts at the port, continues at Nikaho Commerce and Industry Center (Shōkōkaikan), Station Front Crossroad (Ekimae Jujiro), Akita Bank Konoura Branch, then they arrive at Konoura Yama Shrine. The parade and the ceremony finishes around 11 am and the rest of the festival takes place at the park.

After the ceremony, you can try codfish carrying as well as eating the famous Tara jiru along with other codfish dishes. Also, there will be vending stands where you can buy special local products. There will be a music performance (Kinpo Kagura) with Konoura Shinto music instruments to entertain you throughout the festival. In addition, you will have a chance to join the lottery to win the big codfish. Even if you don’t win the actual Tara, you have a chance to get the cod related goods. Thus, you will have something fun and memorable to take home with you!

Tara Dishes

The winter Tara that that people carry and present during the festival is a seasonal food in the area. Akita is on the 5th place in catches of codfish in Japan. So, they have a variety of Tara dishes. Tara is famous as no waste fish, you can eat all parts of it. From the beginning of January to the first Sunday of February, Nikaho city is having the campaign to welcome visitors with different Tara dishes at restaurants around the city. Around 20 restaurants whether it is inside the hotels, Sushi specialty restaurants, western restaurants will offer you the best Tara dishes. I am sure, you will enjoy typical winter food – a hot pot (nabe) with Tara, Tomato base Tara ramen noodles, Tara sushi/sashimi along with other creative Tara dishes while you are in Nikaho city.

Details and Access

Date: February 4th every year.

Admission: Free

Place: Seishi Park (Konoura Shrine’s precincts)

Address: 18 Konourayama, Konoura, Nikaho, Akita

Official website (Japanese only): https://www.akitafan.com/archive/events/24776

Access: Best way to access Konoura Park is taking public transportation. It is a 10-minute walk from JR Uetsuhonsen Konoura Station.

Closing Remarks

There is no festival like this in any other place in Japan. Even as a Japanese, it is an interesting festival to attend! In addition, you will also here unique traditional local music and see energetic ancient dances. Be sure to eat Tara soup to enjoy the freshest cod dishes that will warm you up!

If you would like to discover this outstanding festival and explore Akita prefecture together with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!

For all snow lovers…

Winter is a great season to enjoy Japan! I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you visit this event. There are plenty of festivals and events in Japan in winter, as Japanese people traditionally have a lot of celebrations this season. Most of the events are held in the evening to enjoy candle lights which bring a cozy and charming atmosphere.
For all snow lovers, the following article suggests you 10 best spots to enjoy snow in Japan!
Click here! URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4442/

Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6572/

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 themselves 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!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don`t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

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!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Maggie

Hi! I am Maggie. I love traveling and telling people about cool things happening in Japan. Hope the article helps with your trip to Japan!

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