One of the festivals which mark the beginning of Japanese spring is called the Yayoi Festival. This is held in Nikko, a town popular for lavishly decorated shrines and temples. It is held on the 13th of April with the main attraction on the 17th where you will see a parade of beautiful floats.
Yayoi festival is conducted in the hope of having good fortune for the entire year. It is a very traditional festival dating back to the 8th century. However, strict rules need to be observed during the entire event as mistakes can cause a lot of trouble which is why the festival is also called Gota Matsuri where ‘gota’ means ‘trouble’. Some even call it a ‘Festival of Disputes’.
Yayoi festival officially starts on April 13th. On the second day of the festival, the mikoshi (portable shrine) of the Takio Shrine will leave its place and travel to Honsha Futarasan Shrine arriving on the 16th. Upon its arrival, it is welcomed by the mikoshi of three shrines (main shrine, branch shrine and original shrine). A sacred sake is then offered to the three mikoshi and is properly termed as the sake greeting.
The parade of beautiful floats is held on April 17th where approximately 11 extravagantly decorated floats are paraded around the town. These are called “hana-yatai.” Decorations come in the form of imitated cherry blossoms. The event starts with a ceremony in the morning with some traditional performances and festival music. Then, the carts and floats are pulled along in a parade throughout the town before entering the Hongu shrine. After some time, they then return to the Futarasan Shrine.
The Yayoi Festival is a festival which displays the beautiful sakura colors of spring and is one of the best festivals to experience in the spring season!
For more information, please check out the Japan: Official Guide website.