Kanaya Shrine Autumn Festival – a Great Event to Experience Japanese Tradition



In this article, I will introduce you to a lovely festival that takes place in Yamaguchi Prefecture – a rural area in the south of Japan’s central island. Kanaya Shrine Autumn Festival is a charming traditional celebration that you should visit to explore rural Japanese society and customs.

History of the Festival

Kanaya Shrine is said to have been founded by the Nagato guardians – Shiro Sasaki and Takanori Sasaki from Dazaifu during the Kamakura period.  The shrine moved to its present location in Kurano (1720) by Lord Mori Yoshimoto. Those departing from Hagi castle had to pass the front of Kanaya Shrine. And when the lord and Mohri family left for the commuter exchange, since they always stopped by the Kanaya Shrine, they prayed for safety on the road. The shrine is still loved by the people under the castle and known as “Ogido of Hagi”. Kanaya Shrine Autumn festival (金谷神社秋季恒例祭 – Kanaya Jinja Shuki Korei Sai) is one of the two festivals of this shrine. It features a candle lighting ceremony and float parades around the city.

Matsuri Words that You Need to Know

・Matsuri (Festival) ・Jinja(Shrine)・Shuki(Autumn time)・Mikoshi(God palanquin)・Korei-Sai(Festival Every year)・Taiko (Japanese Drum) ・Kimono / Yukata(Traditional Japanese Clothes)・Tera (Temple)・Kami (a god in Japanese culture)・Omiyage(Souvenir)・ Kamaboko(Fishcake)

How to Enjoy the Festival?

The festival includes a large parade through the town dedicated to the Kanaya Shrine and its god of good luck. Watch the parade, enjoy the candle lighting ceremony and small pop up shops where you can sample local food and get traditional gifts.

Details and Access

Dates: middle of November every year

Place: Kanaya Shrine

Address: 3030-1 Tsubaki, Hagi-City, Yamaguchi prefecture
Access: From Tokyo to Yamaguchi (Main Stop)

1 Shinkansen Train> 4 to 5hrs journey to Shin- Yamaguchi station and costs from 20000 JPY

2 Night Bus >About 14hrs journey to Shin – Yamaguchi station or Hagi – Station. Costs from 8500 JPY

3 By Car> The fastest way is to use the Sanyo Motorway. About 12hrs drive. There are so many other interesting cities that you will drive through. I recommend you stop in a few cities along the way to break up your journey.

4 Flight> One and a half hrs. flight from Tokyo Haneda airport to Yamaguchi Ube airport. Costs about 10000 to 15000 JPY. Japan Airlines, ANA, Starfligher are available.

From Hagi – station

1 minute by bus from JR San-in mainline Hagi station→ 2 minutes by foot from the entrance of the citizen gym.

Must Get Yamaguchi Souvenirs

・Fuku chazuke

Served with hot tea, you can enjoy the taste of this luxurious fish easily. The rich umami of Fugu is condensed and adds to the appetizing flavor, coupled with the aroma of citron. If you like, you can also enjoy it with wasabi and umeboshi.

・Dassai (Sake)

It is said to be the driving force of the sake boom. Junmai Daiginjo Shine 23% features sweetness like clean honey and a long-lasting lingering finish. And Junmai Daiginjo 50shows off an exquisite balance of fresh taste and delicate fragrance.

・Uni – Soya Sauce

Uni and soy sauce balance is the best, it is an irresistible taste when it is put on egg-hung rice! This sea urchin sauce has won the Bronze Award in the “Special Prize Hand Picking Award” and “Soy Sauce – Soup and Seasoning Division” at the 2014 Best Award. Souvenirs for those who like it, as well as something special to buy for yourself!

Local Food

Soba Noodles(Ganko-Ann)

Carefully selected buckwheat flour milled with stone mills and organically grown yams are used to make this rustic noodle. This family-run store is more like an old-fashioned house than a shop. Old photographs decorate the place, giving you a real feeling of its history, dating all the way back to the Tokugawa period. Traditional dishes give a truly traditional feeling as well.

Address: 587 Emukai, Hagi-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture 〒758-0041

TEL: 0838-22-6271

Opening hours: 11: 00 ~ (Close when they sold out!)

Closed: Tuesday

Croquette (Arakawa Kamaboko)

Speaking of good old Japanese fast food, “Butcher’s croquette” is a must try! But, in this area where much old-fashioned surimi (fish paste) are produced, this store has become a cornerstone of local food.”Arakawa Kamaboko store” has been making fish croquettes for many generations. It is a fish meat croquette with fried fish meat, fancy crackers, and cooked bread crumbs. Because the seasoning is perfect, no sauce is necessary. Try it on its own and enjoy the unique touches of radish and red pepper.

Address: 46 Higashi-shi, Higashidamachi 〒758-0047

Phone: 0838-22-0377

Opening hours: 7: 00-19: 00

Closed: New Year’s Day only

Closing Remarks

There are many attractive places in Japan besides Tokyo. Yamaguchi Prefecture is beautiful in any season. Festivals, food, and culture are all unique and fascinating. If you want to discover more of Japan, you should visit Yamaguchi prefecture and add Kanaya Shrine Autumn Festival to your trip plans. Have a lovely trip!

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!


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!



Hi! I`m Manami - a freelance writer originally from Chiba, but now living in Bournemouth in the south of England!

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