Himeji Yukata Matsuri





Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 


  Himeji yukata festival is held in the area abound Himeji castle. It is a remnant of a ceremony took place about 250 years ago when Sakakibara Masamune, the lord of the castle, left town for good. For the memory of Himeji the lord ordered to hold a festival dedicated to Osakabe Shrine, which stood in the castle. Due to the ceremony’s short notice the priests and the people couldn’t prepare proper festive clothing. The lord told that a yukata would be sufficient. So it started.

This time a year it was a custom of Japanese people, probably started in the Edo period, to begin wearing a cotton summer kimono, yukata, which is a casual, lightweight piece of clothing. Unlike the ordinary kimono you can be relaxed in yukata and it is often used as nightwear also. At a ryokan, a Japanese style of hotel, commonly the yukata is provided for change of travelling clothes. You can go for walking in yukata, but foreigners wearing yukata may invite a giggle in the street, if it is not an occasion of festival like such yukata matsuri. Years ago, in Kyoto, I saw some young girls struggling to stifle a laugh when they saw a group of gaijin, big men in yukata of same pattern striding the street triumphantly.

The festival is featured by a procession of children in yukata holding revolving lanterns in their hands


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