As the summer comes to an end, most people think that the festival season also comes to an end. However, in Osaka, the festival season is just getting started. Osaka’s most famous festival, Danjiri, takes place in September, along with several other free festivals and low-cost activities.
Hikohachi Festival (September 6th, 7th)
Dedicated to Osaka rakugo founding father, Hikohachi Yonezawa, this rakugo festival showcases both new and veteran storytellers. There are many events, stalls, and other sources of entertainment.
The festival is held at the Ikukunitama Shrine, in Tennoji. It’s location within the city makes it very easy to get to by subway (Tanimachi 9 Chome Station) and Kintetsu (Osaka Uehonmachi Station). The first day starts from 11am, and the second day starts from 10am.
Sep 6 (Sat) – 7 (Sun)
Yao Kawachi Ondo Festival (September 7th)
Kawachi Ondo is a type of traditional song from Yao, named after the Kawachi region in which it is located. There are dance contests, lantern displays, and several types of performances. While the food vendors and some stalls start at around 10am, the bulk of the events start at noon. The large Bon Odori starts at 4pm and lasts until 8:30pm. The day of the festival, there is a free shuttle bus from the Yao Kintetsu station (every 10 minutes), and from the Yao Minami subway station (every 30 minutes).
Sep 7(Sun) 2014
10:00 ~ 20:30
Moon and Harvest Festivals (September 8th, 13th, 14th)
On the night of the Harvest Moon (September 8th), there are several different moon and harvest festivals taking place around Osaka. At Sumiyoshi Taisha, there is a moon watching festival where poems are read from a special bridge in the moonlight. A unique Sumiyoshi dance and traditional music, bugaku, are also performed. Sumiyoshi Taisha is accessible by the Hankai Tramway and Nankai Railway (Sumiyoshitaisha Station).
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine also has a festival on the night of the Harvest Moon. The shrine is dedicated to the nobleman and scholar Michizane Sugawara, and an Autumn Thinking Festival (秋思祭) is held each Harvest Moon to celebrate his poetry. Various offerings and chants can be observed by torchlight during this festival. The shrine is accessible by subway (Minamimorimachi Station) and JR (Osakatemmangu Station).
In Sakai, another moon festival takes place on the 13th and 14th. The Mozuhachimangu Shrine holds a Tsukimi Festival, also known as the Futondaiko Festival. It is a very unique moon watching festival involving portable shrines, or futondaiko, made of five very large futon cushions and a hidden taiko drum. Each futondaiko weighs about 3 tons and requires at least 70 people to lift it. Some of the futondaiko are presented with special effects such as fog or confetti. You can reach the Mozuhachimangu Shrine by Nankai Railway (Mozuhachiman Station).
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival (September 13th, 14th)
The Danjiri Festival is Osaka’s most famous, or infamous, festival. Large decorative portable shrines, called Danjiri, are carried by intoxicated individuals at break-neck speeds through the city streets. Sometimes the shrines crash into each other, or into the crowds. When the narrow 5 ton carts try to turn 90 degrees at high speeds, they are very likely to tip over. This has happened on more than one occasion, resulting in serious injury and even death. Deaths are not uncommon during the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival, making the festival one of the most dangerous in Japan. This has never effected it’s popularity in the last 3 centuries.
Around Kishiwada station and Hruki station of Nankai Line
Sep 13(Sat) – 14(Sun)
Free to watch but be careful where you sit
Chestnut Gathering (Mid-September – Late October)
In the fall, chestnut gathering is quite common all over Japan. However, the highly prized ginyose chestnuts (銀寄栗), also known as tanba chestnuts (丹波栗), are native to the Nose area, in northwest Osaka Prefecture. Around Nose, you can find several different farms charging between 1,500 and 1,600 yen per person. That price allows you to bring home about 1kg of chestnuts. Some chestnut farms also have other types of chestnuts for gathering earlier and later in the season. Most farms require reservations in advance, so it is always best to call before heading out to Nose.
Mizukoshi Chestnut Farm
Mid-September to late October
￥1,500 (incl. about 1 kg chestnuts to go)