Kayoi Whale Festival – Inherit Whale Catching Culture of Yamaguchi Prefecture



Kayoi town is located at Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is a fishing village where facing the Sea of Japan which holds a Kayoi Whale Festival. About 400 years ago, during the Edo period, the terrain of the bay was complicated, and many whales got lost around that area. That is when local people started catching whales.

People do not catch whales anymore, but they inherited this culture. This festival began to commemorate the 300 years old whale cemetery in 1992. Locals made a ship with a shape of a whale and sang a Kayoi Whale Song to celebrate great catch of fish. The exciting part of this song is that they do not clap their hands while singing but rub their hands. You can notice it during the festival.

Things to Do at the Festival

Main Event

9:00 Bazaar

9:00-11:10 Competition of rowing boats

12:00-12:45 Fake whale catch demonstration

Not only you can see the festival, but also you can join this festival if you are interested.


Rowing boats: Over 18 years old. It has to be eight people in one group. The fee is 1000 Yen. You can get a free towel and juice.

Demonstration of catching fake whale: Over 18 years old who can swim. You need to wear a red loincloth. First 20 people can join. No participation fee. You can get the red loincloth for free as well.

Photo Contest

Take a photo of a whale catch demonstration, and apply for this contest. If you win, your photo will be displayed at Whale Museum in Nagato City for a year. You can get a prize as well.

1st prize: local food ticket for 5000 Yen which you can use in Kayoi town and the letter of commendation.

2nd prize and special prize: local food ticket for 2000 Yen which you can use in Kayoi town and the letter of commendation.

If you are interested in applying, you should send a photo to the address below with your name, age, address, email address, telephone number and the title of your photo.

〒759-4107 Kayoi 671-2, Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Nagato City Kayoi Public Hall, Kayoi whale festival photo contest.

You can send it by email as well. Just make sure to write your information and to attach a picture within 5MB.

Details and Access

Place: Kayoi Koura Reclaimed land

Date: In the middle of July every year. In 2018, it was held on July 15th.

Address: Kayoi 382-1, Nagato city, Yamaguchi Prefecture


1. It takes about 30 minutes from JR Sanin line Nagato city station bound for Kayoi by bus; you should get off at Koura bus stop.

2. It takes about 60 minutes from Mine IC by car.

Parking: There is a space for 100 cars at Kayoi Koura Reclaimed land parking.

If you cannot park your car there, please go to the playground at Kayoi secondary school.

Parking Fee: Free

Contact the committee of Kayoi Whale Festival:

Tel: 0837-28-0008

Official Website:

Closing Remarks

Seeing this festival is fun, but if you can be a part of it, it will become an unforgettable memory. If you are interested in joining this festival with local people, please do not forget to apply for it!

If you want to know more about this Kayoi Whale Festival or other festivals around this area, click the banner below to get more information and connect with locals before your trip.

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

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"I'm Yuka from Sapporo, Hokkaido. I studied English in Canada, and I like communicating with people. I hope you'll love Japan!"

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