Apr. 30, 2020 UPDATE
Yasurai Festival- やすらい祭 -
Parade and dance are pretty exciting, you can be shared with Japanese energy just by looking it.
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PeriodThe second Sunday of April, every year
Story & Recommendation
Yasurai dance with flower umbrellas brings you health and happiness
Yasurai festival is held on the second Sunday of April at Imamiya shrine every year. Yasurai Festival is designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset of Japan, and it’s also often mentioned as one of the three weirdest festivals in Kyoto, the others being Kurama Fire Festival and Uzumasa Bull Festival. There are many sayings about the festival, and one of the most famous is the belief that if you go under the big flower umbrellas used in the parade, you will stay healthy all year. The shrine itself was founded to calm evil spirits and to this day, it is believed that by visiting this shrine you are protected from such bad influences.
Flower umbrellas which are decorated with cherry blossoms or camellias and red or black haired demons make their way to Imiyamiya Shrine on the parade while shouting “Yasurai no hana ya” which means “The flower of Yasurai” in Japanese.
Ueno yasurai and Kawakami yasurai, (they have different origins) arrive at Imamiya shrine around 3 p.m. And, after they go around the main hall, the Yasurai dance is performed by demons. They are violently but also slowly making a dance in front of the cherry blossoms. It is interesting to compare with the difference of each Yasurai dance characteristics.
Let's share the umbrella
Flower umbrella is also called ‘Elegant umbrella. The size of the umbrella size is around 70 inches and it is decorated with cherries, camellias, Yamabuki (Japanese roses), willows, and young pines. It is said that you can get rid of your bad spirits in this year by sharing the umbrella.
You can buy a Yasurai doll for 300 yen at the shrine. The doll is said to work for ailments for you and your family, and it works by writing the name, address, age, and sex of the person you’re praying for on it. You leave the doll itself to be burnt at the shrine, but take the slip in the middle with calligraphic writing on it back with you. Then you need to hang this slip close to the door of your house, but it needs to be hung higher than your eye level.
- Manner & Tips -
Please be cautious of the space and people around you as you may be observing in a crowded area. Please enjoy sharing the flower umbrella while being cautious of the safety of yourself and the others.