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The Atsuta Festival, Full Of Floating Lanterns, Traditional Performances and Fireworks

Of the roughly 70 festivals each year held at Atsuta Shrine, the Atsuta Festival (Atsuta Matsuri or Shobu-sai) is by far the biggest and most important. This festival is held every June 5th and signals the arrival of summer. Summer in Japan is the season of summer festivals and fireworks!

Atsuta Jingu, also called Atsuta-san or Atsuta-sama, is the second most revered Shinto shrine in Japan after the Ise Grand Shrine in nearby Mie Prefecture. The goddess of the sun, Amaterasu, is enshrined at Atsuta Jingu along with one of the three imperial treasures, the sacred sword Kusanagi-no-tsurugi, which is never displayed to the public.

Atsuta Shrine was established around 1,900 years ago and is the second largest shrine in Japan after the Ise Grand Shrine. Its history and cultural offer are so interesting that we have written an entire blog post about it, so you can read it here.

Located in the heart of Nagoya, the 190,000 square meter shrine welcomes over 9 million visitors a year and yet manages to remain an oasis of calm in the busy city. If you haven’t been there yet, the Atsuta Festival is a great opportunity to visit it.

The Atsuta Festival Marks the Beginning of Summer

Carrying the floats

Every June 5th, Atsuta Shrine hosts the Atsuta Festival to mark the beginning of summer. The festival is one of the largest in Nagoya and in fact all of central Japan and includes food stalls, traditional performances and fireworks.

Things to See and Do During the Day

Morning shinto rituals

The festivities begin at 10:00 in the morning with a special ceremony in front of the main sanctuary. The Emperor sends a messenger who together with the priests of the shrine performs a special ceremony dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the shrine.

Atsuta Matsuri
Traditional Japanese perfonmances

During the day you have the chance to see various traditional Japanese performances as well as exhibitions of different Japanese martial arts such as Kyudo (Japanese style archery), Kendo, and Sumo. Some of the traditional performances you can see include Atsuta Kagura (Shinto dance accompanied with music) and Taiko (Japanese drums).

Atsuta Kagura, is one of the many styles of Kagura dance that has been carried out at Atsuta Jingu for almost 1,800 years. Kagura, is a sacred Japanese dance ritual dedicated to Shinto gods and is accompanied by Japanese flutes and drums, and has been practiced to entertain the gods.

Things to See and Do at Night

Atsuta Matsuri
Food stalls

The festivities continue at night, with food stalls lining the area offering some tasty festival foods including Takoyaki (octopus balls), Kakigori (shaved ice), Okonomiyaki (a Japanese pancake filled with cabbage and meat), Castella cakes, chocolate banana, Tamasen (fried egg in a rice cracker).

Atsuta Matsuri
Different festival groups showing their floats

One of the most outstanding events of the night is the five Kento Makiwara, huge floats decorated with 365 lanterns. The floats are lit up and displayed at the three entrances to the shrine from 18:00 to 21:00.

Atsuta Matsuri
Fireworks during the festival

Finally, from around 19:40 an impressive fireworks display with more than 1,000 individual fireworks of different types takes place in the Jingu Koen Park for one hour, marking the ending point to the festival.

Atsuta Matsuri (熱田まつり)
Date: June 5th, 2024
Festival Hours: The festival starts around 10:00. The Kento Makiwara are lit up from 18:00 – 21:00. Fireworks from 19:40 to 20:30.
Entry Fee: Free
Address: 1-1-1 Jingu, Atsuta Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 456-8585
Access: Take the Meitetsu Line train from Nagoya Station to Jingu-Mae Station. Atsuta Shrine is then a 5-minute walk from the station.
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps

This post was last updated in June 2024
Although we strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please note that changes may occur nonetheless. We recommend you confirm any relevant information such as event cancelations or changes, opening hours, or possible restrictions using a direct source. Please keep in mind that these sources might be in Japanese only.


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About the author

Sumo, Sake, and Japan Crafts Expert in JapanImmerse yourself in the heart of Japanese culture with me, I am, a Spanish entrepreneur living over 16 years in Japan. My extensive experience has made me not just a guide, but a cultural bridge, connecting travelers to the authentic spirit of Japan.From the electrifying arenas of sumo wrestling to the delicate world of sake brewing and the timeless elegance of Japanese crafts, my journey is a tapestry of rich cultural encounters. I am passionate about sharing these unique experiences, offering a glimpse into Japan's soul through its traditions and hidden gems.Join me, and together let's explore the depth and beauty of Japan. Whether you're a sumo enthusiast, a sake aficionado, or a lover of artisanal crafts, I am here to guide you through an unforgettable cultural adventure.Discover the Essence of Japan with me.

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