Azumino O-Fune Matsuri (Ship Festival)
The Azuimno O-Fune Matsuri or ‘Ship Festival’ is a raucous and fun local event taking place over two day, from September 26th to 27th each year. Celebrating the founding-legends of Azumino itself, the festival brings the local community together in a dramatic interpretation of the migration of the Azumi people to the region a very long time ago.
The ‘Azumi’ people were a clan said to have originated in Kyushu in the distant south of Japan. As skilled seafarers, the Azumi navigated their way north to what is today Nagano Prefecture and settled on the plains of Azumino, in the shadow of the North Alps.
The festival celebrates that event and the founding of Azumino over the two days, with a parade of ship floats, created by the community and pulled through the town toward Hotaka Shrine. On the second day, the two ships – one female and one male – meet and clash in-front of the shrine – a boisterous and lively reenactment of Azumino’s founding legend and symbolic of the communities continued fertility and continuation.
Our 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Azumino O-Fune Festival Tour on Sept 27th includes reserved seating at the shrine – the best way to experience all the festivities up close and personal!
From morning onward on both days with the main event - the ship fight - at 14:00 on Sept.27
Sept. 26th & 27th
Free (fees apply for reserved seating at the ship fight)
Approximately 1.5 to 2-hours drive from the Jigokudani Monkey Park
From Nagano, take JR Shinonoi Line from Nagano to Matsumoto, and transfer to JR Oito Line to Hotaka Station. Once at Hotaka, the festival grounds are only 5-minutes walk, just follow the crowds