Okuma Kabuto Festival

A festival held in Noto Nakajima.
Giant wakubata (flag banners) are paraded through the village. 

Address: 1-148 Yokota, Nakajima-machi, Nanao City
Phone: 0767-53-8437
Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (Last entry at 16:00)
Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, closed the next day) and from December 1 to March 9
Fee: Entry 500 yen
Parking: Available
Access: About 1 minute by car from the Noto Yuryo (Noto Toll Road) Yokota Interchange

■Nakajima’s magnificent wakubata festival
Four times a year in Nakajima-machi, a festival is held in which giant crimson banners are carried through the town. The Okumo Kabuto festival is the largest of the four annual festivals held at Shinto shrines in the area, and attracts many sightseers.
The festival is held every year on September 20. The procession, marching to the rhythm of Japanese drums, is led by a man dressed as Sarutahiko (a Japanese Shinto deity), wearing a bright red tengu (goblin) mask with a long nose. The tail of the procession includes 40 to 50 people carrying giant crimson wakubata banners. The waving banners make a magnificent sight. This is a beloved tradition, protected for years by the local residents. The usually quiet village becomes a scene of gaiety for this period of time.
The real thing can only be seen once a year, but at the Noto Nakajima Matsuri Kaikan (Festival Hall), the banners, Sarutahiko’s mask and costume and other items from the festival are on display, and you can watch videos of previous festivals. Experience the same enthusiasm people feel on festival day!


Ushitsu Abare Matsuri (Rampage Festival)

A festival in which people rampage to meet the gods’ desires

Phone: 0768-62-1000 (Noto-cho Town Hall)

■To herald the advent of summer, a majestic fire festival
Every year, on the first Friday and Saturday of July, a festival is held to usher summer in to Noto. According to one tradition, the festival began about 330 years ago, during the Kanbun era (1661-1672), but there are many different stories about how it started.
On the day of the festival, more than 40 festival lanterns, 7m tall, and portable shrines, or mikoshi, are paraded through the town. The feature of this festival is the violence – two of the mikoshi are thrown into the sea and later into blazing flames while people rampage around. It is an explosion of the power of the people of Noto. In this mischievous festival, the wilder you rampage, the better, so it’s best for visitors to stay well away from the mikoshi and the lanterns!



An agricultural folk ritual thanking the gods of the fields.
It was registered in September 2009 as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

Phone: 0768-62-8532 (Noto-cho Town Hall Furusato Promotion Division)

■A traditional event giving thanks for the harvest
In this traditional folk event of North Noto, the gods are invited into people’s homes and treated as if they were really there. Every year, on December 5, the head of the household goes to the rice fields that have been harvested, and invites the husband and wife deities of the field to his home and serves up a meal as thanks. The deities spend the winter with the family, or so it is believed, and on February 9, they return to the fields.


Uma Odori (Horse Dance) / Neko Odori (Cat Dance)

Strange festivals held on Notojima in Nanao Bay

Location: Notojima-Hannoura-machi, Nanao City
Parking: None
Access: About 20 minutes by car from the Noetsu Expressway Wakura Interchange
■Uma Odori
Niwaka is an ongoing tradition in the six areas of Notojima. Niwaka are the traditional short skits that include mikoshi (portable shrines), lion dances and other dances. Each region has its own traditional program.The Uma Odori held in Hannoura on the west coast is one of those niwaka. Every year on October 13, it is presented as part of the autumn festival. The performance depicts a fight between Kumagai Jiro Naozane, mounted on a black horse, and Taira no Atsumori, on a white horse, in a re-enactment of the Genji and Heike wars. The final scene, where Kumagai, in tears, kills the 16-year-old Atsumori is a highlight of the play.
■Neko Odori
The Neko Odori niwaka is the climax of the autumn festival held in Notojima-Bessho-machi. The actors play a samurai dressed in a happi coat and carrying a sword, and a monster cat wearing a headdress. The dance is based on a novel from the Edo period, in which a samurai seeks vengeance on a monster cat that killed his parents. To the sounds of a flute playing, the actors leap and bound around the stage, imitating a fight.