Tejikara Fire Festival Gifu
The Tejikara Fire Festival is an annual event held every second Sunday in August along the banks of the Nagara River in Gifu. Miniature shrines are carried by men wearing only loincloths underneath a curtain of fireworks falling from 20 meters above. The festival is also held on the second Saturday in April at the Tejikara Shrine and has a history of more than 300 years. It certainly is one of the more spectacular festivals in Japan with all the fire, sparks and gunpowder.
Some Aspects of the Tejikara Fire Festival
Festival Floats (Mikoshi)
The main event of the Tejikara Fire Festival is the festival floats carried by men on their shoulders under a curtain of fireworks. This year’s floats included the Nagaragawa Ukai mascot, Prince Shotoku, Saka-daru (sake barrel), Cars, Chopper from One Piece, an Egyptian Pharaoh and a Deco-tora (decoration truck). The gunpowder stashed away in the floats is ignited by the sparks from the fireworks causing spectacular explosions, and long streams of fire to shoot high into the sky from the floats. The men carrying the festival floats dance wildly with the sound of ringing bells and firecrackers. It is an amazing celebration of both sound and fire and a must see!
Standing Lanterns (Gohei Andon)
The Gohei Andon or Standing Lanterns are hung 20 meters above the ground on bamboo poles. Each pole represents a different neighbourhood in Gifu City and people from that area participate in the performance. The candles inside the paper lanterns are lit one by one by a rocket like flame that is shot off at the lanterns. It is a very spectacular lighting of the lanterns with an explosion of sparks and lights. There is a tradition that the year will be rich in harvest if the lanterns can be lit without any trouble.
Hand-held Fireworks (Tedutsu Hanabi)
The hand-held fireworks called Tedutsu Hanabi in Japanese are set off by the festival participants. The grand finale is a spectacular waterfall of hand-held fireworks by the festival participants from a tower.
As with any festival in Japan at the Tejikara Fireworks Festival there are also many street vendors selling all kinds of festival food and snacks. This includes favourites like yakisoba, takoyaki and kakigori.
Make sure you get there early to reserve your spot and beat the crowds. We arrived at around 5 p.m. and could get a nice spot right in front of the standing lanterns.
Information for the Tejikara Fireworks Festival