Niwaka Festival of the Ukawa area of Noto Town is known for its characteristic sleeve-kiriko floats. In the olden days, when there was a succession of bad catches or marine accidents, people presented lanterns with pictures of strong samurai warriors to Umise Shrine, which enshrines Benzaiten, the Goddess of the Sea, and prayed for a big catch and safe fishing. Since then, local fishermen have been placing sacred paper strips and samurai pictures that have been used for the festival on their boats and on Shinto altars as talismans.
The name of the festival, “Niwaka,” which means “instant,” comes from the fact that people made a sleeve-kiriko float instantly to entertain the 13th lord of the Kaga Clan, Nariyasu Maeda, when he visited Noto. The kiriko has a unique shape; its height is 7m and its width is 5.4m. In contrast to kiriko floats of other areas, which follow a portable shrine, this kiriko has sacred paper strips attached to it as symbols of the deity. At dusk on the first day of the festival, nine floats gather at the square near the beach, and start to parade in the town upon the signal of fireworks. The parade crosses Ukawa Ohashi Bridge and arrives at the shrine late at night. To the dynamic sound of drums and gongs, the young men carrying the floats run around the precincts until dawn. Both locals and visitors enjoy commenting on the gorgeous samurai pictures, which differ according to the area they are from.
●Dynamic scene of nine kiriko floats lined up in Mioroshino-hama Square.
●Beautiful reflection of samurai pictures on the river when kiriko floats cross Ukawa Ohashi Bridge.
●Powerful dancing of kiriko floats that continues through the night, expressing wishes for the safety of fishermen.
Day: 4th Saturday of August
Location: Ukawa Area, Noto Town
Inquiries: Noto Town Furusato Promotion Section (Tel: 0768-62-8532)