The Gifu Nobunaga Festival is a fun and lively festival held in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture in the Chubu region of Japan. The festival is one of Gifu’s most famous and draws spectators and fans from all over Japan every year.
The Gifu Nobunaga Festival honours the feats and achievements of Oda Nobunaga, a samurai warlord who used Gifu City as a base on his mission to unify Japan during the volatile Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japan. The festival is a celebration of his contribution as well as other founding heroes towards the construction of Gifu City and the powerful legacy that they have left behind.
The festival is held every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of October and is symbolic of Autumn in Gifu Prefecture. This year the festival is on from October 3 to 4.
The Gifu Nobunaga Festival features a lot of fun activities and events that brings downtown Gifu City alive every October for Autumn. The must see events of the festival are the special memorial ceremony held at Sofuku-ji Temple (Nobunaga’s family temple) on Saturday, the Kogane Park Flea Market held on both days of the festival, and the samurai warrior procession down the main street of Gifu (Nagarabashi-dori) on Sunday.
The highlight of the festival is the warrior procession featuring several of Japan’s most famous historic figures and warriors. These include Oda Nobunaga (the star of the show), Lady No or Nohime (the wife of Nobunaga, renowned for her beauty and cleverness), Saito Dosan (samurai warlord, known as the Viper of Mino, and Nobunaga’s father-in-law), Kinoshita Tokichiro (samurai general, who later became Toyotomi Hideyoshi and succeeded Nobunaga), Shibata Katsuie (Japanese military commander and general), Takenaka Hanbei (Japanese samurai and brilliant military strategist), Luis Frois (Portuguese missionary who befriended Nobunaga and wrote about Japan on his travels).
The procession starts with a marching band followed by ceremonial matchlock rifle firing and then the various groups and historical figures mentioned above. The procession is held along Nagarabashi-dori and starts at 12:30 pm from Gifu Station and ends at around 2:20 pm when the last group reached Gifu City Hall. One of the best places to view the parade is from the intersection of Wakamiya-cho.
The Gifu Nobunaga Festival offers you a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past with a great collection of samurai warriors and historical figures. If you are a fan of samurai culture and Japanese history, this is one festival you should not miss.
Location: Downtown Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
When: October 3-4
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Official Website: www.gifucvb.or.jp/en/02_event/02_06.html
Gifu City is located about 2 hours away from Tokyo via Shinkansen and JR train from Nagoya. Take a JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya, followed by a short 20 minute JR train from Nagoya to Gifu Station (Tokaido Line).
Would love to be here! How wonderful a festival!