Yamaguchi offers a host of spring celebrations and those visiting the prefecture will find plenty to do. Read on to discover some of the best festivals the prefecture has to offer.
Tokiwa Koen-no-Sakura Festival (ときわ公園の桜まつり）
End of May - Early April @ Tokiwa Park
Sakura (cherry blossom) season is famous throughout Japan, but specific locations such as this host the best hanami (flower viewing) festivals the country has to offer. Yamaguchi Prefecture is home to Tokiwa Koen (Tokiwa Park), which is packed full of these beautiful trees. The Sakura Festival is held from the end of March through to early April, the precise dates depending on when the flowers are expected to bloom. People from all over the prefecture (and the country!) flock to the park early each day to secure the best picnic spots for relaxing beneath the beautiful flowers. In addition, every year they also host various entertainment acts on the main stage for all to enjoy!
Kintaikyo Festival (錦帯橋まつり)
April 29th - Showa-no-hi @ Kintaikyo Bridge, Iwakuni
April 29th is celebrated across the country as a public holiday (Showa-no-hi) that commemorates the revered Emperor Showa. In the town of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, this date also hosts a festival called “Kintaikyo Matsuri” that marks the establishment of the Sankin-kotai system during the Edo period (1603-1868). Under this system, the local Daimyo lords were permitted by the Edo shogunate to spend a hefty sum traveling to Edo and back in order to reside between their own castle and the Tokugawa castle at Edo. Today, the festival reproduces a section of the journey with a parade where locals dressed in garments similar to those worn in the Edo era travel over the famous Kintaikyo Bridge.
Shimonoseki Strait Festival (しものせき海峡まつり)
May 3rd @ Shimonoseki City
Based on historical events in the local area, Shimonoseki City hosts the Shimonoseki Strait Festival annually on May 3rd to replicate the Naval Battle of Dannoura of 1185 in which the Heike Clan lost power. Witness the parade of noblewomen and reenactment of the Genpei War, where samurai warriors from two rival clans rode on countless boats with colorful flags to battle it out. This is a unique opportunity to understand the historical significance of Shimonoseki City.