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Otabi Festival 2024!

With a history of over 250 years, the Otabi Festival is Komatsu’s biggest event. The festivities center around the children’s kabuki plays staged upon traditional hikiyama floats!


What makes these kabuki plays special is that they are performed by an all-girl cast, defying the men-only tradition of kabuki! Elementary school girls are selected from the two performing neighborhoods (rotated among the neighborhoods that own a hikiyama float, more on that below), and go through months of rigorous training.



Jump to:

What Are Hikiyama?


Main Events

English Tour

Hikiyama Float-pulling

What Are Hikiyama?

The hikiyama that serve as the stage are also not your usual festival float: they contain a pull-out walkway serving as the hanamichi, an essential part of kabuki stages through which performers enter and exit the stage. These hikiyama were actually introduced to the festival later in 1776 as a way of adding color to the festivities and showcasing the skills of local artisans.


While some hikiyama have been lost to fires over the years, 8 remain in Komatsu today, and it is the 8 neighborhoods owning these hikiyama that take turns staging the kabuki plays of Otabi Festival each year.


Outside the festival period, you can find two hikiyama floats on display at the Hikiyama Gallery MIYOSSA anytime of year.


The hikiyama are stored in parts and reassembled for the festival every year, but despite their complex structure, not a single nail is used! They have to be fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle, in the right sequence. What’s more, the method of assembly is transmitted through the generations purely through verbal instruction. Hence, it is a community effort requiring the participation of the whole neighborhood, young and old alike.


Once assembled, moving the hikiyama also requires team effort!


After the hikiyama are assembled, they are tugged through the streets and gathered in the center of town, for the kabuki plays of the two performing neighborhoods, and the spectacular light-up at night!



Date: 11th May (Sat)

Venue: Saiku-cho Intersection (map)

11:30~12:15 Nishi-cho Children’s Kabuki Performance (@MIYOSSA)
12:30~13:45 Hikiyama Procession (Float-pulling Experience)
13:45 Hikiyama Floats Assembled (@Saiku-cho)
15:00~17:00 English Guided Tour
15:30~16:15 Nishi-cho Children’s Kabuki Performance
16:30~17:20 Eight-Neighborhoods Collaboration Children’s Kabuki Performance
18:00~ Hikiyama Float Light-up
18:00~18:45 Nishi-cho Children’s Kabuki Performance
19:00~19:50 Eight-Neighborhoods Collaboration Children’s Kabuki Performance
20:30 Hikiyama Floats Disperse

Main Events

Hikiyama Festival Float Line-up

Time: 13.45PM – 8.30PM

(Float illumination from ~6PM)

Children’s Kabuki Performances

The Tatsumi Channel, Cornerstone of the People – Scene at Inaba Sakon’s Mansion
by Nishi-cho neighborhood

Showtimes: 11.30AM, 3.30PM, 6PM (45 mins)


by Eight-Neighborhoods Collaboration

Showtimes: 4.30PM, 8PM (50 mins)


Side Activities

English Tour

If you’d like a more intimate experience of Otabi Festival, join our guided tour led by English-speaking locals!



A scene from last year’s tour!


Our friendly local guides will show you around their recommended sites and shops surrounding the festival venue, and share their appreciation of the exquisite architecture of the hikiyama floats!


When: 11th May (Sat), 3 PM ~ 5 PM

Meeting point: JR Komatsu Station West Exit (map)


*Tour participants may also reserve seats for the night children’s kabuki performances (6 PM ~ 8.30 PM)


It’s a fun way to learn about the history and background of this 250-year-old festival through the intimate eyes of a local! The tour is free, but advance sign-up is required through google form:


*Deadline: 3 May 2024

Hikiyama Float-pulling Experience

We will be inviting some members of the public to experience the hikiyama float-pulling process!

Join the locals in tugging one of the floats to the assembly point at Saiku-cho Intersection.


It will take place 12:15~13:45, from Miyossa to Saiku-cho Intersection.

*Meeting Point: JR Komatsu Station West Exit (map)


Sign-up form:


*Deadline: 26 April 2024