Rising high over the three prefectures of Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu, Mt. Hakusan has been revered as a sacred mountain since ancient times when people began climbing the mountain as a form of religious devotion. The Onsenji Temple in Yamashiro Onsen was once a training place of the shugenja, the mountain worshippers. They customarily gathered iris leaves and packed them into straw bags, performing rituals to pray for good health. These rituals are the origins of today’s Shobuyu Matsuri Festival.
The highlight of the festival is the impressive night parade of the mikoshi portable shrine which is loaded with straw bags containing iris leaves. At the end of the parade, the iris leaves are thrown into the bath of the ko-soyu (old public bathhouse) with the belief that they will purify people’s body and spirit. Traditional dances are also performed the following evening.
Date: June 4 (Shobuyu Mikoshi parade) and 5 (traditional dances)
Venue: Yamashiro Onsen
*Also held in both Yamanaka Onsen and Katayamazu Onsen.