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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Yamachosuji Street & Mikurumayama Festival Takaoka

高岡御車山祭

Yamachosuji Street is a row of preserved storehouses dating back to the early 1900's in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture.

Yamachosuji Street Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture.
Yamachosuji Street Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture.

The houses were built by wealthy merchants on a major road through the town after their previous properties were destroyed in a fire. Some of the buildings are open as museums and can be entered for a small fee. The Sugano Residence (9.30am-4pm; Tel: 0766 22 3078) is one such place open to the public. The buildings are marked by their black painted upper floor with thick shutters for the windows. The tiled roofs have shachihoko (mythical orca-like creatures), which are believed to protect from fire.

The Sugano Residence, Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture © Takaoka Lifelong Learning Center.
The Sugano Residence, Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture © Takaoka Lifelong Learning Center.
This traditional street in Takaoka is also on the route of the Mikurumayama Festival which takes place on May 1 (or the next day in case of heavy rain). Seven beautifully decorated, wheeled floats, called Mikurumayama, are pulled through the streets in a festival that harks back to the town's founding in 1609.

The famous samurai warrior Maeda Toshiie (1538-1599) gave a carriage, previously given to him by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to his son Maeda Toshinaga (1562-1614), the man who later built the castle in Takaoka.

Mikurumayama Festival Takaoka.
Toyama Gakuyu Net
Toshinaga then, in turn, presented the carriage to the townspeople and over time more and more carriages were added to the procession to celebrate the establishment and prosperity of the city with the building of the castle.

Lanterns on the floats are lit at night on April 30 when people come out to admire them. The whole procession draws 1000's of visitors to Takaoka on May 1.

Further information in Japanese can be found on the official website.

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1 comment:

  1. Great post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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