Nagahama Hikiyama Festival

This is one of Japan's three great dashi festivals with traditional floats. Using the gold dust presented by Hashiba Hideyoshi (later Toyotomi Hideyoshi), lord of Nagahama Castle, to celebrate the birth of his first Son, the people of the town built twelve dashi and began pulling them around for the festivals of the Nagaoka Hachiman shrine. The high point of the festival comes when children aged between five and twelve perform kabuki using the dazzling floats as a stage. They wear authentic kabuki costumes, and their enthusiastic kabuki performance is loudly applauded by the people who throng to see them. This style of kabuki began in the Edo period. It is intimately connected to its birthplace, Nagahama, a center for sarugaku (a prototype of Noh) in the early middle ages in Japan.
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