The Fall Festival at Sone Tenmangu Shrine in Hyogo Prefecture's Takasago City takes place each year
on October 13-14.
The most famous features of this festival are the "Zabuton yatai"!
They are Yatai with a unique, decorative curved roof that looks like it was made from Japanese pillows.
The shaking and clashing of the yatai is particularly fierce and they say that it "makes the gods happy when they make
a lot of racket".But the most unique feature of the Sone Fall Festival is its traditional events!
Must-see ritual events come one after another, such as the "Take-Wari" ('Bamboo-Breaking') where a 10-meter high
decorated bamboo log pounded onto the ground until it comes apart, the "Uma Kake" ('Horse Run') where horses are
run through the shrine compound, and the "Yabusame event" in which traditional mounted samurai archers show off
The most important event is the "Hitotsu Mono Ritual".
4 children between the ages of 5-7, called "Tounin" ('head man') are chosen from each of the four villages.
Adorned in makeup, a beautiful, ancient style robe worn by nobility, and with a pheasant feather on their head,
they are treated with reverence as if possessed by a god.
These "tounin" boys are given rice from the fall harvest in the main sanctuary, and they share the strength they
receive from the gods with all the people of the village! And their feet are never allowed to touch the ground!
For that purpose, they are carried on the shoulders of a young man or on the back of a horse readied at the main
sanctuary and rocked gently as they go to the chant of "Yoi Yoi Bei! Yoi Yoi Bei!". It's a sight that shouldn't be missed!
The best thing about the Sone Festival is getting close
enough to touch the yatai!
As long as you're careful, you can get close enough to see
the power of the yatai-shaking right in front of your eyes!
The brave men are so handsome as they shout "Yoi Yasa!"
and heroically lift and shake the yatai!
I can see why there are more couples after the festival!
My favorite part is the Horse Run!
Four horses run around the shrine compound and the men
run after each of them shouting as they run.
They run as hard as they can 3-4 times around the shrine,
and when you see the grimaces of hard work on their faces,
you can't help but cheer them on.
As soon as you get to Sone Station and pass
through the torii (shrine gate), the first thing you
see is Shikama Sake Shop's oden (a kind of
Japanese stew)! Eating their delicious, slow-cooked
oden makes me feel like I'm right at home!
When you get off at Sone Station, you see all these great retro
vending machines. They sell sake and beer, so lots of people load
up so they can enjoy watching the festival with a beer in one hand.
The vending machines are all old and take you back to when you
were a kid. They're unique with hand-written stickers on them
like "Insert coins slowly" and it just makes you laugh.
【Access to Sone Temnangu】
5 minutes walk from Sanyo Railway”Sone”station
(From Himeji station,16 minutes/ JPY440 for one way)