As the word ‘Kenka’ means fighting, this is a festival dedicated to the God of fighting. 3 mikoshi (portable shrine) fight and try to break down one another in front of the god. In addition to that, carrying competition of 7 yatai (gorgeous portable shrine) from 7 areas in Shirahama town, Himeji city is also main part of this festival. The harder their mikoshi and yatai crash, the more the god is pleased. This very a tough, dangerous but very exciting festival and is surely a must-see event for autumn!
This festival is held on 14 and 15 October of every year.
Venue: Otabi Mountain
How to Purchase the Ticket
Every year, special seats are sold at the foot of Otabi Mountain for this festival, but there is no ticket sold for tourists. All special seats are for the local. You cannot buy ticket without invitations. However, if you are lucky, you might meet someone who is kind enough to offer a seat for you. So, it might worth going to the battleground and seek for the chance.
How to Enjoy
‘Flows of the Event’
14 October is the eve of the festival. There is a parade of 7 yatai (portable shrine), called Neridashi from 11 am at Matsubara Hachiman Shrine. They march from their villages to the shrine and enter the ground. After all yatai gather, they have carrying competition called Neriawase. Even though it looks dangerous when all yatai try to attack one another, the main event on next day is even harder!
On 15 October, there is a ritual bathing ceremony from 5am, followed by the opening ceremony called Miyairi, at which 7 yatai gather in the ground of the shrine again (this will be at around 9am). After this, 3 portable shrines from one village which is in charge of hosting the festival (*7 villages take turns.) fight. They fight twice, taking place in front of the main building of the shrine and in the battleground set on the foot of Otabi Mountain. When the fighting finishes, 7 yatai enter the battleground and start fight with one another. You can see exiting collisions and feel the passion of participants. After all fighting are ended, 3 portable shrines and 7 yatai are carried to the top of the mountain, humbly given to the God.
‘Kenka’ sound booming all over the mountain
Big sounds are made every time the mikoshi and yatai clash, carrying men keep shouting vigorously throughout the festival, Japanese drums are played along with ‘neriawase’ and ‘kenka’. Spectators also shout as they felt the excitement of the battle. This festival is full of booming sound as if is the whole mountain is shaking all over.
Where to watch?
There are standing seats available for everyone behind the special seats at the foot of Otabi Mountain. It is a little bit far from the ground, but it is free. Also there is a big television set next to the battleground, which is broadcasting the festival for free. It is much safer choice to watch the live broadcast if you are scared of watching the ‘kenka’ closely!
Venue: Matsubara Hachiman Shrine and Otabiyama
【Route 1】get to Himeji City
If you come from Tokyo, the best way to get to Himeji City is to take bullet train to Himeji station (it takes about 3 hours). From Osaka, take JR express train to Himeji Station (about 1 hour).
【Route 2】get to Matsubara Hachiman Shrine
From Himeji Station, take Sanyo Dentetsu train to Shirahamanomiya Station (on the days of the festival, limited express train also stops at this station, so you can take limited express train as well). After getting off from the train, it takes you 5 minutes to walk to the shrine. Or you can get off at the Mega Station (next to Shirahamanomiya Station), and walk from there for 20 minutes.
To Otabi Mountain, walk for 15 minutes from Shirahamanomiya Station, of 10 minutes from Mega Station.
We arrange tickets on your behalf!
Nozomi Co. Ltd. arranges tickets of various events held in all over Japan on your behalf. It only takes 3 minutes to make a request! It’s Fast・Easy・Convenient, so please use our service.
When making purchasing request to our company, we charge JPY 2000 per ticket as a service fee. Upon making purchasing request, please pay “ticket price + service fee”. If you wished the ticket to be delivered via mail, delivery fee must be paid as well. (Example) Ticket Fee Price x number + JPY 2000 Service Fee + Delivery Fee (We are using Japan Post’s EMS. For the price chart, please click here).
If there is any ticket you want to purchase, please let us know the ticket event’s name and number of ticket, and send us request from the Contact Form page. We will promptly reply back with more details and price estimation.
Our company is located in Kyoto, the world’s renowned tourism city, with 13 years of history. We provide services for foreign tourist travelling to Japan. We offer not only ticket arrangement service for event or concert, but also attractive activities, famous restaurants, and tourist attractions that only provide reservation in Japanese. Don’t you want to try a unique travel experience? Please feel free to contact with us.