Held in Nanao, Ishikawa pref., every May, the Seihakusai Festival (青柏祭) features three enormous floats that are said to ward off evil monkeys. (There’s lots of good information in English on Experience Kanazawa.) The Noto region of Ishikawa is famous for its summer festivals, but they’re not just kiriko (huge lantern) festivals.
Behold the dekayama:
The dekayama (でかやま) are 12 meters high and weigh 20 tons–the biggest in Japan.
The dolls are life-size and apparently made by hand! This is the Uomachi dekayama.
We came to Nanao Fisherman’s Wharf (能登食際市場) on the morning of May 5 to see the dekayama‘s parade through town.
In order to turn the float to get it down the streets, participants push pieces of wood under the wheel.
The Kajimachi dekayama.
The Fuchumachi dekayama.
We may not have a naked man festival, but Ishikawa and the Hokuriku region have one of the richest and most prolific festival cultures in Japan, especially when it comes to floats and lanterns. Floats are crashed into each other in the Fushiki Kenkayama Matsuri in Toyama; carried into the sea in just about any port town (Wajima, Suzu); pillars of straw are set ablaze in the Kawakita fireworks and Wajima Taisai; mikoshi are destroyed in the Abare Matsuri (“fire and violence” festival). Moreover, I love the mix of wild and romantic and spooky that summer embodies here–the heat is awful, but the food and the atmosphere (almost) make up for it.