Toyota City maintains a strong connection with its rich history and culture. This long history and culture can best be seen at the Koromo Festival a two day festival held annually on the 3rd Saturday and 3rd Sunday of October since 1624. Some of the traditional Dashi (floats) built in 1624 are still the same
The construction of each Dashi is made of wood and decorated with intricate wood carvings and fabulously embroidered maku drapes, each depicting a brave warrior or an honored deity.
The festival consists of 8 large floats (dashi), about four meters high and weighing several tons, they gather on the outskirts of the ancient Koromo Shrine to be blessed in a Shinto purification ceremony before being taken through the streets of the city from Toyota.
The floats are pulled and pushed through the streets of Toyota by large neighborhood teams accompanied by traditional musicians and dancers a festival to the sound of Hoissa! Hoissa!
The huge wooden wheels and their axles are simply pushed through the streets and have no steering capabilities, so when the float arrives at an intersection, the men have to drag the multi-ton float to stay in the right direction.
The first day of the Festival is held at Shingaku, takes place on Saturday as the main event and on the second day, Sunday is held the Hongaku Festival and ends with a beautiful display of fireworks along the banks of the Yahagi River. The festival has long been held in the month of October to ensure a bountiful harvest.
Assembly of the Allegorical Car
Two weeks before the festival the floats are assembled by neighborhood teams, it takes about 6 hours to assemble a whole Dashi.
Shingaku Festival – First day of the Festival (Saturday)
On the first day (Saturday) the Shingaku Festival is held, from 5 am the prayer for the blessing of the festival is held at the Koromo Shrine, the eight teams of the eight districts are blessed one at a time.
Then they gather in the neighborhood to hear the opening ceremony and celebrate the festival by drinking sake.
Thus begins the biggest parade of allegorical cars through the neighborhoods of the city of Toyota.
Inside the floats, the music team plays all the time while the dashi is moving, making the festival harmonious and incredible
And at Koromo Shrine, the Mikomai dance is performed and like all Japanese festivals, there are several food and drink stalls.
At night Japanese lanterns are lit in the neighborhoods and head to Koromo Shrine to receive a blessing for a bountiful harvest, an ancient Japanese tradition called Shichido Mairi「七度参り」.
It’s a ceremony where teams have to walk seven times around the venue to the altar.
• The first three laps are for the children who will be responsible for the future of the neighborhood.
• For the next four laps, the adults run around screaming.
• The 7 laps are done with the lights on and shouting Oisa 「おぃさー」!
And they close with groups of bombori (chouchin) partying, running and dancing.
Hongaku Festival – Second Day of the Festival (Sunday)
On the second day (Sunday) the Hongaku Festival takes place, which begins with the entrance of the Lion Dance group (獅子舞 – Shishimai).
The first great moment of the festival is the Hikikomi highlight, which is the moment when the floats enter the Shrine.
Afterwards we can enjoy the big party held with all the Dashi gathered together, and the crew drinking, shouting and playing music.
And the second great moment of the festival and the most beautiful is the Hikidashi highlight, which is the moment of the departure of the floats in the Sanctuary, launching thousands of confetti into the sky. An incredible ending, from here the floats return to their neighborhood.
But some floats go to Toyota station, providing a third and unforgettable moment of the Koromo Festival.
And the grand finale takes place with the beautiful closing fireworks display of the Festival that starts at 6:30 pm (depending on the year, from 7 pm). A beautiful fireworks show lasting about 30 minutes, which can be seen from the Toyota Stadium bridge.
Originally, the township was at the foot of Mount Doji, upon which Koromo Castle was built.
The Naito clan received the area and established Koromo Castle and for hundreds of years, the castle kept a protective eye over the area, until it was finally abandoned and demolished at the end of the feudal period in 1871.
About 88 years later, in 1959, the castle town of Koromo changed its name to the name Toyota Town, in honor of the vehicle manufacturing corporation.
It is said that floats first appeared at the Koromo Festival in Higashimachi, Honmachi, Nakamachi and Shinmeicho in 1964. In 1777, two floats appeared for Minami-machi and Nishi-machi, and in 1778, two for Kita-machi and Takyouchou.
Location: Koromo Shrine
Date: Every year on the 3rd Saturday and 3rd Sunday of October
Hours Saturday (Shingaku): 5:00 am to 8:00 pm
Hours Sunday (Hongaku): 9:00 am to 7:30 pm
Koromo Shrine: Aichi Toyota Koromocho 5-1
Fireworks Location: Toyota Bridge
Fireworks (Sunday): 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm (depending on the year)
Fireworks: Toyota Bridge