The Nagoya Matsuri is scheduled for October 15th and 16th. This is the 62nd year of the festival which takes place at Oasis 21, Hisaya Odori Park and other locations around the city.
The Nagoya Matsuri is one of the biggest festivals in Nagoya and has been a popular event with locals since it started in 1955.
Every year it is a little different but the defining feature of the festival is the appearance of three of Nagoya’s most famous warlords Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu and their princesses along with their soldiers in amour carrying weapons. The warlords and their retinue are prominently featured in one of a variety of parades featuring over 600 people, floats, shinto music and dance performances. The parades take place in front of Nagoya Station, on Hirokoji-dori and on Otsu-dori (from Sakae to Yaba-cho) on Saturday Oct 15th and on Otsu-dori on Sunday the 16th.
The procession of the three fuedal lords takes place on October 15th starts at Nagoya Station and proceeds along a route that goes to Sasashima, Hirokoji-dori in Fushimi, and Sakae before ending at Yabacho. On October 16th the procession of the three fuedal lords starts at Nagoya City Hall and continues to Otsu Bridge, Sakae before ending in Yabacho. And while these parades are by far the most famous there are heaps of others to taking place in the city center. The weekend features a variety of stage performances and events being held at Hisaya Odori Park and Oasis 21. There will also be food stalls featuring a range of local Nagoya food at Hisaya 0dori Park.
In addition, sightseeing spots around Nagoya, such as Nagoya Castle, Higashiyama Zoo, Tokugawa Garden among others are open for free only for that Sunday (depending on the facility).
The “Three Heroes”
The Nagoya Matsuri celebrates three of the Tokai area’s most famous men
The Nagoya Matsuri takes place every year to honor three of the Tokai region’s most famous men- the samurai lords Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu
Both Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi were both born in what is present-day Nagoya (in 1534 and 1537, respectively), while Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in nearby Okazaki in 1542. Together, these three men were responsible for unifying Japan, bringing to a close nearly a century of unrest and civil war known as the Sengoku period.
To honor these “three heroes” during the festival three men are chosen to represent them, dressed in historically accurate clothing and paraded on traditional festival floats – and in the case of Nobunaga – upon a horse which is ceremonially fitted with accouterments similar to those employed during his lifetime.
A retinue of princesses and soldiers accompany the three men as they make their way through the city creating a unique and historically evocative display.
But just who were these “Three Heros?”
1534 ~ 1582
Born in Owari Province, Nobunaga was known as a powerful shogun who attempted to unify Japan and was the first of the three heroes. In the battle of Okehazama, he defeated Yoshitomo Imagawa and then gained control over most of Japan, however just before he completed the unification of Japan, he was executed by his retainer Mitsuhide Akechi in the 1582 Honno-ji incident in Kyoto.
1537 ~ 1598
Hideyoshi was born under the name of Tokichiro Kinoshita to a farming family in what is now Nakamuwa-ku, Nagoya in Owari Province, home of the Oda clan. After distinguishing himself, he was called Hideyoshi Hasiba, which later changed again to Hideyoshi Toyotomi. He took on an important role for his liege lord, Nobunaga Oda, and after Nobunaga’s death, he achieved Nobunaga’s goal of a unified the country.
1542 ~ 1616
Known as the founder and first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, Ieyasu was born in Okazaki Castle as a son of Hirotada Matsudaira, the daimyo of Mikawa.
He spent his childhood as a hostage of the Oda family and the Imagawa family. After Hideyoshi’s death, he led his forces to victory against one of Hideyoshi’s chief administrators, Ishida Mitsunari in the decisive battle of Sekigahara.
Following Tokugawa’s victory, Ieyasu received the title of Shogun and began the Tokugawa shogunate which lasted for the next 250 years.