In addition to the Uchinada Kite Festival, Ishikawa has two other great festivals going on in the second long weekend of Golden Week. The Seihakusai Matsuri in Nanao is one of city’s major claims to fame and bosts three prime examples of dekayama (huge mountain) festival floats. The Kutaniyaki Festival in Nomi is a three-day long Kutanyaki bazaar with pieces from numerous kilns. Both festivals will go from Thursday May 3rd to Saturday May 5th, so with some clever day-trip planning, you don’t have to miss a thing!
The Seihakusai Matsuri has been held in Nanao for over a thousand years. Three towns–Kajimachi, Uomachi, and Fuchumachi–each haul a 12-meter, 20 ton festival float to the shrine. Anyone can participate moving the floats around, and watching teams of old guys getting those things to turn on a narrow street is truly a sight to behold. The decorations on the floats feature carvings and life-sized dolls.
Interested? Here is the event schedule for the Seihakusai Festival, from Experience Kanazawa:
Seihakusai Festival [May 3 – 5]
Day-1 [21:00 – midnight] Kajimachi’s float is sent off to the Ohtokonushi-Jinja shrine
Day-2 [1:00 – daybreak] Fuchumachi’s float is sent off to the Ohtokonushi-Jinja shrine / [8:00 – noon] Uomachi’s float is sent off to the Ohtokonushi-Jinja shrine / [14:00 – night] The three floats are sent back home / [20:00 – 20:30] Fireworks display at the wharf
Day-3 [12:00 – 16:00] The three floats gather at Nanao Fisherman’s Wharf / [16:00 – night] The three floats are sent back home again
The Kutaniyaki Matsuri (also known as the Kutani Chawan Festival) in Nomi is a fun, affordable way to acquire some Kutaniyaki ware for yourself or friends and family back home. Most of the festival is an open-air bazaar, but there is also live music, auctions, prize drawings, and food served in kutaniyaki bowls. Some years, there have been opportunities to paint your own kutaniyaki ware. The bazaar is open May 3rd and 4th from 8:30 to 19:30, and May 5th from 8:30 to 18:00. A shuttle bus is available from Terai station for 100 yen. A list of performance events (in Japanese) can be found here.
Have a great Golden Week!