Around 370 years ago, during a time of feudal Japan, the Izumo province was struck with bad weather which lead to a bad harvest that threatened the region with famine. The lord of the domain at the time, Matsudaira Naomasa, then decided to take the deity by boat from Jozan-Inari Shrine, behind Matsue Castle, to Adakaya Shrine on the outskirts of the city in order to pray for a good harvest. That year was Shōhō 4 or 1647 according to the Gregorian calendar and since then they have continued the tradition every 10 or 12 years.
Currently, the festival is known as one of three big boat festivals in Japan, where the procession of boats involved total to about 100 boats, but it always didn’t involve that many boats. It actually wasn’t until 1808 when stormy conditions threatened the festival that local fishermen from the Makata village became involved in escorting the boats safely to the shrine. Since then it became a tradition to have these “kaidenma” boats help with the escorting, and four other villages (Yada, Ooi, Fukutomi, Oomisaki) also joined in the ceremony as well.
The ceremony encompasses a total of nine days and is split up into three main parts; “Togyosai” Transfer Festival, “Chuunichisai” Middle Day Festival, “Kangyosai” Return Festival.
“Togyosai” Transfer Festival
May 18, 2019 (Sat)
“Chunichisai” Middle Day Festival
May 22, 2019 (Wed.)
“Kangyosai” Return Festival
May 26, 2019 (Sun.)
For more information check out the official Horan-Enya 2019 homepage.
And, check out the Horan-Enya Memorial Hall museum if you want to learn more about the festival and the history of past festivals. They also offer admission discounts to international visitors. ↓More Information↓
To commemorate the festival they are offering FREE ADMISSION on May 18, 26 2019
Also, check out our 1 min. YouTube video of the Horan-Enya Memorial Hall.
Matsue Horan-Enya Memorial Hall (松江ホーランエンヤ伝承館）
■Address: 250, Tonomachi, Matsue City
Google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/yrZWmNaqvb3hj5oS6
■Hours of Operation: [Apr. ~ Sep.] 8:30am – 6:30pm (last admission at 6pm)
[Oct. – Mar.] 8:30 am – 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)
*Closed 3rd Thurs. of the month (Fri. if Thurs. is a holiday)
■Discounted Admission: Adults 100JPY
Elementary/ Junior High School students: 50JPY