Things you can see in Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall


The Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall is the only facility that permanently displays Takayama’s actual festival floats. They are the products made by the local craftsmen generously using their technology.

Speaking of the craftsmen, since ancient times, the province of Hida has sent craftsmen, who were called “Takumi”, to the Yamato court which is situated in the ancient capital of Nara. They were sent to Nara every year as the substitute of taxes. The selected craftsmen who went to Nara (100 to 130 people each year) demonstrated their skills by working on the construction of palaces and temples.

The period during which craftsmen were sent to the capital lasted approximately 600 years. That means approximately 70,000 to 80,000 Hida craftsmen worked in the capital during the period.

In the country of Hida (Takayama), the conventional techniques they have cultivated has been handed down to the current generation. In Takayama, you can see their elaborate works in many places. Above all, Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall is a place which showcases their ultimate masterpieces.

Takayama Festival

Takayama’s floats are paraded through the city during the Takayama Festival, which is composed of two festivals.

DurationNum. of FloatsCelebrated Shrine
The Spring FestivalApril 14th – 15th12Hie Shirne
The Autumn FestivalOctober 9th – 10th11Sakurayama-Hachiman Srine

In 2016, Yama, Hoko, Yatai festivals in Japan including Takayama festival were registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Each float is a collection of a master craftsmanship accumulated over 1,300 years, including carpentry, lacquering, painting, carving, weaving, dying, drawing and doll-making. Although Takayama festival became popular with both domestic and foreign tourists, it is still mainly held by local residents. They’ve suprisingly been continuing to preserve the festival for the past 300 years.

What you can see in the exhibition hall

The Takayama Festival floats were set up in each town by the townspeople competing with spirit. They can only be seen once a year on the festival day. Therefore, the local people built the Takayama Festival Float Exhibition hall with the hope that visitors from far away would be able to see their food stalls throughout the year. The 23 floats , which weighs 2.5 tons, are devided into 4 groups, regularly rotated and put on public display at the museum.

Gyojin Tai

It is said that at a time when there were no houses in some area in Takayama, a wanderer settled there, and soon other people followed him and began to build their house. It is said that in memory of his virtue, the float was built to enshrine the wanderer.

Source: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Houju Tai

The ridge decoration features male and female giant turtles.This giant turtle is made of Japanese paper covered with lacquer to make the roof lighter. The architrave of this float is made of a single piece of zelkova wood and is the most beautiful of all the floats in Takayama.

Source: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Daihachi Tai

This is the first three-wheeled float in Takayama, and the tire has a diameter of 1.56 meters. The middle tier is built in the style of a Heian period palace, with no enclosure and half-hung bamboo blinds, in which children dressed in eboshi (eboshi hats) and straight robes perform the elegant Daihachi music.

Source: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Houmei Tai

It took three years to undergo a major renovation for Houmei Tai since 1903, and the decorations were created using the skills of Hida’s master carpenters, carvers, metal fittings artists, and painters. It is a gorgeous and luxurious float that embodies the essence of float art.

Source: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine
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