Yanai Matsuri in Yamaguchi – Enjoy a Brilliant Umbrella Dance



The Yanai Festival is autumn festival for thanksgiving of the autumn harvest. The festival is held on November 23rd which is a public holiday in Japan. There are many local food stands and traditional games. And the main feature of this festival is Hanakasa Odori when people dance with beautiful umbrellas. Also, you can see Kodomo Mikoshi which is a small portable shrine for children.

History of the Festival

The festival started as a thanksgiving ceremony for rural farmers in December of 1955 and commemorated the establishment of the Yanai City, Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1954. Next year the name of festival changed to Yanai Industry Festival. Thus, they held a celebration that showed the achievements of various industries, commerce, and agriculture. Also, this festival attracted famous performing artists from Japan every year. Mainly the festival was held in December – after the harvesting season. However,  in 1968, the main of the event was Yanai Ondo – the Dance of Yanai that had musical performance, baton twirl performance, and costumes presentation.

The names of festival changed to Yanai Matsuri in 1971. In 1973 Hanakasa Odori – the Umbrella Dance was introduced at the festival. So, all participants started to dance with traditional Japanese umbrellas following the beats of Yanai Ondo. Kodomo Mikoshi – Children Mikoshi parade became a part of the festival in 1982. And from 2002 you can attend the festival on November 23rd only for one day every year.

How to Enjoy Yanai Matsuri?

Hanakasa Odori

People dance from Retoro Dori to Sunbeam Yanai which is about 500m long. The participants parade to match the Yanai Ondo rhythm and create a beautiful procession. So, that beautiful parade attracts a big audience that wants to see traditional Japanese umbrellas as well.

Kodomo Mikoshi

You can witness a cute parade local children parade with Mikoshi. They shout “Wasshoi Wasshoi” like adults during serious mikoshi parades. You can also see fancy festival dresses for the children and some performances.

Omatsuri Hiroba (Festival Plaza)

At a particular event space “Omatsuri Hiroba,” which is next to Motohashi you can see various performances like ballet, traditional dances, and baton twirler. Furthermore, there is a lot of food stands with seasonal autumn dishes.

Shirokabe Edo Matsuri (White Wall Edo Festival)

At the same time on Shirokabe street, you can play traditional Japanese games of Edo Period such as target shooting and Throwing stars.

Parasol shop

In and around Yanai City Museum, many unique shops are selling original items. You can even buy some handmade things including traditional Japanese umbrellas. Also, the museum holds the Performing Arts Festival.

Exhibition Section

In Yanai City Gymnasium and around it there is an Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Exhibition along with the welfare market. Thus,  you can find products only for local consumption. So, I recommend you try sea bream rice and octopus rice with red beams. Also, there is Charity bazaar and Udon section at the welfare market.

Details and Access

Admission fee: Free
Day: Every year on November 23rd (Public holiday – Labor Thanksgiving Day)
Time: Event 10:00~16:30; Exhibition 9:00~15:00 (The time may change case by case)
Place: Center of Yanai City
Address: Yanaitsu, Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi
Contact: Yanai Commerce and Tourism Division Tel:0820-22-2111
Yanai Chamber of commerce Tel: 0820-22-3731
Access: From JR Yanai station to Yanai City Gymnasium
JR Sanyo Honsen, Yanai station; 1min walk
Sanyo Expressway Chug IC; 25min by car


Closing Remarks

Yamaguchi Prefecture is next to Hiroshima, and the most famous tourist spots are Akiyoshidai, Hagi’s old Castile Town and Kintaikyo Bridge. Also, there are Yuda Onsen and Yumoto Onsen. Therefore, if you travel to Yamaguchi in Autumn, please visit Yanai city!

You can enjoy seeing Hanakasa Odori and Kodomo Mikoshi at this great festival! Also, you should eat local seafood as the fish is fresh and cheap here. When it is autumn in Japan, please enjoy delicious seasonal ingredients, beautiful autumn leaves, and Yanai Matsuri!

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Do You Like Dances?

How about watching or even taking part in Japanese dance festivals. The festivals are very different, and you can see either traditional dances and hear the music that had not changed with time, or visit more contemporary dance events.  Anyway, what`s a festival without dancing? There are so many dance festivals in Japan that sometimes it is hard to choose one. Following article collected Best Dancing Festivals in Japan. Please have a look and pick your favorite!

For All Matsuri Lovers

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit this great festival. Yanai Matsuri is very popular, and it is one of the matsuris to enjoy seeing the traditional costume. So, if you would like to know more about other festivals to enjoy with traditional costumes, please click on the link below and you will find an article on the best ten festivals to enjoy Traditional Japanese Costume!




I live in Yokohama. My home town is Hiroshima. I have lived in England for 4years.And I have traveled to Europe,so now I want to show you to my country JAPAN!

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