Fukushima Waraji Festival

Fukushima's summer festival opens with vibrant parade

 By Tom Roseveare   Aug 15, 2016

Named after the traditional 'waraij' straw sandals, Fukushima's annual festival to mark the summer kicks off in early August. While you therefore understandably might see a lot of straw sandals on display, the centrepiece is the 12 m long, 2 ton giant version hoisted down the street to mark the parade's opening (sadly missing from this video though!).

This huge waraji is traditionally seen as a symbol of safe travelling and walking, and is dedicated at Haguro Shrine on Mt Shinobu to the north of the city (interesting fact: this mountain is said to have inspired the opening song of 'My Neighbour Totoro').

A traditional folk dance took place from 6pm on Aug 5th, starting at the junction of Route 373 and 13 (just a few blocks east of Fukushima station), beside Machinaka Hiroba, where a performance stage and festival stalls selling food help build anticipation for the main event.

Festivities continue for two days, with a number of events planned for visitors to enjoy, including a reggae-style parade taking over on the second day – in stark contrast to the first day.

Video by Tom Roseveare
Japan Travel Partner

Join the discussion

Corinna David a year ago
Interesting festival.
Shri Bhagwan Sharma a year ago

Fukushima Waraji Festival
Mt.Shinobu is the symbol of Fukushima city and the festival "Akatsuki-mairi" is held on January 14 by the lunar calendar. Japan's largest "waraji" (straw sandals) is dedicated to the Haguro shrine. At the fukushima Waraji festival, one of the two "waraji" is dedicated to the Shrine to wish strength of our legs. It's held in the first week of Friday and Saturday in August. The first day is "Waraji Odori"(dance) and the second day is "Dancing Soda Night"(disco tic dance), and "Waraji races". Young, and old, men and women dance all night in hot summer night. A theme song, "Waraji Odori" has been changed to "Heisei Waraji Odori"(reggae style) and "Dancing Soda Naitto"(hip- hop style). there are many dedicated song related to this festival.