20 Feb 2020
Otabi Festival 2020 ＠ ~City of Kabuki~
Komatsu City is tightly intertwined with the culture of kabuki, one of Japan’s great performing arts.
Click here to learn more about the Otabi Festival and the various events happening this year!
|Main Events||The Plays|
|Saturday Schedule||Show Times|
|Machiya Events||English Tour|
Beginning over 250 years ago, the Otabi Festival is Komatsu’s biggest event. One of Ishikawa’s biggest festivals, it attracts thousands of visitors from around the country and overseas to see the traditional hikiyama floats, and the children’s kabuki plays.
The Otabi Festival orginated as the spring festival of two major shrines in Komatsu, Uhashi and Motoori Hiyoshi. It takes its name from one of the key festival events, the mikoshi procession. Mikoshi, or portable shrines, are traditionally carried around the local neighbourhood to allow the Gods to inspect their surroundings. In Japanese this procession is referred as 旅をする、tabi wo suru.
The more famous portion of the festival was added in 1776, when local merchants incorporated hikiyama floats into the festival. What is unique about hikiyama is that they double as stages for kabuki plays. And what is distinct about Komatsu’s hikiyama is that the kabuki plays staged on them during the Otabi Festival are traditionally only performed by girls, in direct contrast to the typical kabuki performed only by men.
Komatsu City comes alive as performances, food stalls and events cover the city, and temples hold their annual mikoshi processions. This is an event not to be missed!
The Plays This Year
Held on the gorgeous and elaborate hikiyama floats, the children’s kabuki plays are the main event of the festival. Every year, two neighbourhoods begin their preparations to perform upon their hikiyama. For 2020, they are Nishi-cho and a joint kabuki group formed from children of all eight neighbourhoods, which will be performing on Yokaichi-machi’s hikiyama.
Nishi-cho will be performing “The Tatsumi Channel and the Sparkle of the Olympics”(Summary here!) and the combined kabuki group will be performing “The Tale of the Soga Brothers, Twelfth Hour” (Summary here!)
Hikiyama Grand Line-up Schedule
For Saturday only, the hikiyama will be gathered in one place! The schedule is as follows
|13:50||All Hikiyama Line-up|
|15:30||Nishi-cho Children’s Kabuki Performance|
|16:30||8 Neighbourhoods Children’s Kabuki Performance|
|18:00||Nishi-cho Children’s Kabuki Performance|
|19:00||8 Neighbourhoods Children’s Kabuki Performance|
|All Hikiyama Line-up|
- The locations and timings of the plays may be affected by weather conditions
- If the Hikiyama Line-up is cancelled due to bad weather, plays will be held in their own towns.
Machiya refers to the many traditional townhouses found throughout Komatsu. Built around the Taisho era, they feature a fascinating mix of traditional architecture in modern setups. Many of the machiya are private properties, but during the Otabi Festival, they open their doors to the public and feature a variety of events and performances.
Check out the event map below to get a feel of the various locations
|Event||Location (Google Map Links)|
|Colourful Dishes Exhibit||Rokkado 麗華洞||10:00 – 17:30||10:00 – 17:00|
|Nishi-cho Hikiyama Festival Float Materials Exhibit||Uchida Heitaro Shop 打田平太郎商店||10:00 – 18:30|
|Fish and Birds Taxidermy Exhibit||Motomura 本村 邸||10:00 – 17:00|
|Announcment of Heisei Newspaper Exhibit||Motomura 本村 邸||10:00 – 17:00|
|Komatsu Municipal High School Art Work Exhibits||Motomura 本村 邸||–||10:00 – 17:00|
|Osugi Shop 大杉商店||10:00 – 18:00||10:00 – 17:00|
|Sumigen すみげん||9:30 – 19:00||9:30 – 17:00|
|Girly Air Force Anime Panel Exhibit||Choboya Tea Shop 長保屋茶舗||9:00 – 19:00||9:00 – 17:00|
|Urara-ichi, Temple Market and Food||Shomyouji 称名寺||–||From 10:00||–|
|Hobby Exhibit||Shomyouji 称名寺||–||10:00 – 16:00|
|Tea Ceremony||Toraya Ceramics Store とら屋陶器店||–||10:00 – 16:00|
|Traditional Sweets Demonstration||Toraya Ceramics Store とら屋陶器店||–||10:00 – 16:00|
|Entry to Bonnet Train Car||Doihara Bonnet Space 土居原ボンネット広場||–||10:00 – 17:00||10:00 – 16:00|
|Kotobuku no Mi: Exhibit of Auspicious and Celebratory Art Works||Nishikigama Gallery 錦釜展示館||9:00 – 17:00|
|Exhibiit of Works from Tojiro Kitade School||Hiro-oka Artworks 美術品 広岡||8:00 – 19:00|
|Yasokichi Tokugawa Exhibit||Gallery Matsunoke, Matsubaya 松葉家・ギャラリー松の家||10:00-18:00||10:00-16:00|
|Come down and have fun during the Otabi Festival||Community Salon Tomo (Located in front of the station) 駅前コミュニティサロン友||–||10:00 – 16:00|
|Egyptian Belly Dance||Guesthouse Mikkaichi ゲストハウス三日市||–||11:30 – 12:00
13:30 – 14:00
|Kutaniware Tea Time||Sharehouse Taizando シェアハウス泰山堂||–||11:00 – 15:30|
|Machiya Bunko Small Marche ~Books, Paper, Wood and Thread. Sometimes Food~||Machiya Bunko こまつ町家文庫||–||10:00 – 16:00|
We will be offering English tours this year as well!
On 16th May, Saturday, there will tours starting every half hour from 10:00 till 14:30! Each tour will take about 40-50 minutes, and our local guides will bring you around! It’s a fun way to learn about the history and background of this 250-year-old festival!
Tours are absolutely free! Just come down to the information tent outside Komatsu Station to sign up!
Limited spaces available, so sign up early!
Stamp Rally / Event Space Map
During the festival, you can head around the various sites listed above to collect stamps! If you collect all 8 hikiyama (in green) and more than 10 townhouse locations (listed as either yellow or blue points), head over to Miyossa (in red) to redeem a prize!
Grab a copy of the Stamp Rally Sheet to play!
Yellow points indicate the locations of events listed in the table above.
(Kindly note that the locations are valid at the time of updating, and may be subject to change)
Parking Locations and Road Closures
The roads surrounding and leading up to Komatsu Station will be closed during the festival itself.