Autumn Festivals in Hiroshima

ByJustin Hanus
Aug 31, 2022

Autumn Festivals in Hiroshima

Autumn is a season sprinkled with many festivals across the world. The hot summer has passed, and we experience cooler temperatures and that lush gold tinge for a few months before winter arrives. In Hiroshima, you can find autumn festivals expressing appreciation for harvest and wishing for an abundant crop in the forthcoming year. The city also has festivals to showcase some of the season’s best food and other events to put in your diary.

Here is a selection of what to do and where to go festival-wise this autumn. Check the circumstances ahead of the event, as some cancellations are still occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ebisu-Kou Festival

Also commonly known as the Ebisu Taisai festival or Ebessan, this colorful annual festival dates back over 400 years. It takes place between November 18-20 each year on the streets surrounding the Ebisu-jinja Shrine. It is one of Hiroshima’s three big annual festivals alongside Toukaksan in June and the Sumiyoshi Shrine summer festival. Ebisu is the Japanese god of fishermen and good fortune, and you will find a host of stalls and street traders lined along Chou-Dori road for three days as the area is closed to traffic. Stalls are typically adorned with bamboo rakes onto which are attached gold coins – a symbolic act to wish for good financial luck in the coming year. There is also a giant wooden barrel on the street, and visitors throw money into this and pray for wealth. In addition to stalls selling food, drink, and goods, the festival usually features kagura dance and taiko drum performances.

Shirakami Shrine Autumn Festival

Many shrines across Japan hold autumn festivals, usually during October, as part of the annual harvest rituals. One of the most popular in Hiroshima is the Shirakami Shrine in the city’s downtown district on the corner of Peace Boulevard and Rijo-Dori. Across two nights (usually from around 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.) in late October, the area is filled with food and game stalls where families can eat, have fun, and enjoy kagura dance and theater performances.

Another similar festival occurs at the Sorasaya Shrine close to the Peace Memorial Park. This festival lasts two days across the third weekend in October.

Saijo Sake Festival

Are you a lover of the famous Japanese rice wine drink? Then get along to the annual Saijo Sake Festival. This small town in the Higashi area, around 30 minutes from Hiroshima City station, is famous for its sake production, with ten breweries nearby. At the festival, held this year on October 8-9, you can sample over 900 sake varieties. It’s a family-friendly event that attracts up to 200,000 people across the weekend. In addition to sake sampling, you can enjoy music and entertainment in the town’s Chou Park East, watch parades, take brewery tours and try bishu-nabe, a local stew dish seasoned with sake.

Hiroshima Food Festival

A foodie’s delight, this two-day event in late October features hundreds of food and drink stalls showcasing establishments from all across Hiroshima Prefecture. The event usually takes place in Chuo Park and around Hiroshima Castle. Savor local okonomiyaki, yakisoba, beef, oysters, ramen, and beer, while you enjoy music and kagura dance performances. Entry is free; you only pay for food and drink. Check ahead for details of this year’s event, as organizers canceled it in 2020, and 2021’s food festival was rescheduled as a web event in February 2022.

Sera Kogen Flower Festival

Hiroshima’s Sera Kogen Farm and Flower Village host this treat for flower enthusiasts every late summer through to early autumn. The 2022 event is scheduled from September 10 to October 30. It’s a dahlia and chrysanthemum event, one of the biggest in Japan, where visitors can marvel at nearly 20,000 flowers.

Sharat Chowdhury, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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