Rollin’ the gods

July 17th, 2009 by
Category: Culture Art, Events
Image courtesty of

Next week, July 22nd and 23rd is Kiso’s yearly festival held in Kiso-fukushima, “mikoshi-makuri”.  A mikoshi 神輿 is a portable shrine like the one pictured above.  Makuri means “to roll” or “to turn”.  So, that’s basically what this festival is about . . . rollin’ shrines.

On the first night of the festival (the 22nd) the mikoshi are paraded around town without being rolled. Boring?  Yes, probably . . . but there are fireworks after.  On the second night of the festival (the 23rd) the mikoshi are again paraded around town, but this time they are rolled by the men carrying them.  I’ve never seen this festival, but I’m sure the men imbibe sake continuously throughout the day and night.  This means, I was assured by a friend, that towards the later hours of the night (perhaps 9 or 10 pm) the rollin’ gets more fierce.

Amazing thing is these beautiful shrines are built fresh every year . . . wow.

Let’s get rollin’.



From Matsumoto 松本 take the Shinonoi Line 篠ノ井線, transfer at Shiojiri 塩尻 and take the Chuo Line 中央線 to Kiso-fukushima 木曽福島.

From Nagoya 名古屋 take the Wide View Shinano ワイドビューしなの on the Chuo Line 中央線 to Kiso-fukushima 木曽福島.


Take route 19 (19号) from Nakatsugawa 中津川 or Matsumoto 松本

For more details see the following website (Japanese only)

For a brief English explanation of the festival see the following website (scroll down a bit)

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