Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri Festival 2019 Photos

Hundreds of people pulling the rope

When I arrived, I checked out what events are there in Osaka during December. I came across a festival called Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, which takes place at Kishiwada City in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. In this post, I’ll share some of the photos I took at the Danjiri Matsuri festival using my Nikon DLSR camera.

It’s outside of Osaka City. I took the train from Shin-Imamiya Station to Kishiwada Station. The ride took about 45 minutes. Considering the importance of this attraction, I was quite surprised that the train wasn’t full. The train is the “Airport Express” train that takes people to Kensai International Airport (KIX). But this train also stops at Kishiwada.

I thought that I was late, but the Danjiri Matsuri festival actually started at around 6:00 am. The moment you get out of the train station you can see and hear the crowd—it was electrifying.

Kishiwada Danjiri Schedule

Before I continue sharing my experience, here is the schedule of the entire event for both the 1st Day and the 2nd Day of Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri festival.

1st Day

6:00 – 7:30 – Hiki-dashi (Opening pull)
9:30 – 11:30 – Parade
13:00 – 17:00 – Parade
19:00 – 22:00 – Parade of lantern-lit Danjiris

2nd Day

6:00 – 12:30 – Miya-iri (Going to worship at the shrine)
13:00 – 17:00 – Parade
19:00 – 22:00 – Parade of lantern-lit Danjiris

Even before I arrived, I saw that Google Maps displays the closed roads with stripes with “Danjiri Matsuri” text.

Danjiri Matsuri on Google Maps
Danjiri Matsuri on Google Maps

Pulling Danjiris

In this festival, you can see Japanese people pulling a Danjiri. It’s a card built of all zelkova-wood. It weighs around 4 tons and it’s 3.8 meters high, 4-meter long and 2.5-meter wide.

The Danjiri has 5 main structures: the Oo-yane (Upper Roof), Ko-tane (Lower roof), Mae-teko (Front Lever), Ushiro-teko (Rear Level), Daiku-gata (Carpenters). So basically the cart is being controlled using a lever as a steering wheel with people pushing it forwards using a rope. People pull the cart using a rope which is around 100 to 200 meter long.

This festival is very energetic. You can see the Japanese people singing and showing so much excitement. The place is packed with people. To be honest, I didn’t see too many tourists as I thought I would. That being said, this place invites people from many places in Japan.

I’ve heard that there is also a similar Danjiri festival held in Kobe in Spring, but it’s less impressive than this one. Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri in Kishiwada is by the most impressive one.

2019 Danjiri Matsuri Photos

I was so happy to be able to finally get to Japan armed with a DSLR camera. I just couldn’t get those type of shots that I wanted without an optical zoom lens. Here you can see some of the photos that I’ve taken at Danjiri Matsuri festival in Kishiwada using my Nikon D7000 digital SLR camera.

Photographer TIP: Just a recommendation for photographers. I only realized it later. It’s better to set the camera to “Speed-priority” because you’ll be taking pictures of moving subjects. I only realized it later after I got home, but I got plenty of good shots as well.

I’ll share more photos in a second post, there are only few of the photos.

As you can see from those photos, this festival is just fabulous. The street are so vibrant, filled with music, enchanting energy, and captivating vibe.

TIP: When you get out of the train station, that place is one of the most popular and packed places. This is where the Danjiri does a big turn. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other places to see the Danjiris, so don’t stay in that place, move around along the Danjiri closed-road routes.

It’s all About the Sharp Turns

The reason that areas with the turns are so packed with people because this is where the big show is. The Danjiri most impressive maneuver is when reaching a turn. Then suddenly, everyone is pushing the cart fast and you can see the Danjiri taking the turn in high-speed. It’s a very dangerous act, and this is why some accidents occurred in the past.

People enjoy seeing how the cart is pulled through those sharp turns and this is why it is so packed with people. I am not saying that other roads aren’t packed. In fact, most of the area is full of people, this is how popular the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri Festival is.

This is my first post about the Danjiri Matsuri event. I’ll share more in future posts.

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