Osaka – Tenjin Festival

Osaka’s Tenjin Festival is ranked as one of Japan’s top three festivals, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri.

The festival started over 1000 years ago and today takes place on July 24 and 25 every year. The main celebrations are held on the festival’s second day, July 25, including a land procession and a river procession with fireworks.

The festival is held at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, which is dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane (845-903), who is deified as Tenman Tenjin, the patron god of learning and art. One of the highlights of the festival is the land procession, which is a parade of some 3,000 people dressed in the imperial-court style of the 8th-12th Centuries marching beside portable shrines. The other highlight is the boat procession, when the same 3,000 people board 100 boats from the approach of the Tenmabashi Bridge and sail upstream.

At dusk, the boats are lit up with fires which are ignited to illuminate the surroundings and reflected on the river surface, creating an beautiful view. Along the riverbanks, pavilions are set up and the festival goers enjoy the sights and the Tenjin Matsuri Hono Hanabi fireworks display which takes place at the same time.