Yamaguchi Prefecture Summer Hofu Tenman-gu Shrine Birthday Festival




In the south of Honshu, there lies the small town of Hofu which lights up once a year with its celebration of a more than 1000-year-old religious history and dedication to a god of old. Of course, I’m talking about the Summer Tenman-gu Shrine Birthday Festival, which is all about going out with a bang in the heat of summer, and is true when the town comes to life!!

Matsuri Breakdown

Tenman-gu Shrine itself is dedicated to the Shinto god of learning and science “Sugawara no Michizane” (菅原道真公), also famous for Tenman Tenjin, and was the first temple dedicated to this god, by order of the Emperor himself.

The Summer Tenman-gu Shrine Birthday Festival is in celebration of the birth of this god, “Sugawara no Michizane”, and takes place on the two days leading up to and the day of his birth, culminating in the climax of the festival, a massive display of more than 4000 fireworks!
For the main fireworks display, there is synchronized music and laser displays as well, making for a show renowned throughout Japan, with up to 30,000 people attending each year.


As mentioned, this is, in fact, a three-day festival, which means that much in the style of a traditional Japanese summer festival, there are various competitions to take in, performances to see, and stall foods and goods to try and sample!

Things to Do

As mentioned there are many performances that take place over the three days of the festival for you to be stunned by, including traditional Japanese drum and religious performances have taken throughout the town as well!
There are also events that you can participate in through the festival, just one example of which includes a tea ceremony event, although of course these change each year.

On the 3rd and final night, there is a lit candle display throughout the town, for which about 2000 candles are lit to welcome visitors to temple, leading from the street off to the main staircase of the temple and up to the main hall of the temple. And of course, there is the grand climax of the festival, a 40-minute fireworks show that is sure to dazzle!

Details and Access

Dates: The Summer Tenman-gu Shrine Birthday Festival is, as mentioned above, a 3-day festival held from the 3rd to 5th of August in honor of the deified “Sugawara no Michizane” who was born on June 25th of the Japanese lunar calendar, in the year 845 AD, which corresponds to August 5th. The fireworks display starts at 8:30pm and continues until about 9:15 on the final day of the festival.

Place: Tenman-gu Shrine

Address: 14-1 Matsuzakicho, Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Access: Hofu is in Yamaguchi prefecture, which itself is at the southernmost point of the main Japanese island of Honshu, is approximately 1.5-2hrs from the regional centers of either Hiroshima or Fukuoka via train, accessible via the JR Sanyo Main Line.
Tenman-gu Shrine is a 15-minute walk from JR Hofu Train Station.

Other Things to Do Around Hofu

Ohira Mountain

– It is a beautiful mountainside park and garden.  From the top of which you can see all the way to the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. The mountain has many plazas to enjoy

Nojima Island

– A chain of three islands full of camps and keen fishermen throughout the summer.

Mouri Garden

– A beautiful garden in the style of the Meiji and Taisho periods of early Imperial Japan.

Shogun Kokubunji Temple

– Constructed under Emperor Shomu in the year 741 AD, as one of many Kokubunji Temples. The temple is of such history that it is famous as a national historic site.

Nofu City Youth Science Centre・Solar

– A solar-themed science center with permanent and seasonal exhibitions, as well as free science campaigns and science shows on weekends and holidays, and finally the largest solar telescope in western Japan, which is open on sunny days.


Closing Remarks

The Summer Tenman-gu Shrine Birthday Festival is one of the liveliest Japanese festivals around, and a great way to enjoy a high-energy Japanese summer!
Even within Japan which is famous for its firework and festival culture, the Tenman-gu fireworks show is quite the sight, and definitely something I don’t think you’ll get almost anywhere else in Japan!


So if you’re after someone to show you around the beautiful Nofu, as well as the bombastic Tenman-gu Festival, and let you in on the other historical secrets that the town has to offer, just check below!

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

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 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!


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. 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!


Aedan Southeren

Hi, I'm Aedan, an Australian university student currently studying in Japan

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