A Mystical May Festival That Lets You Experience Japanese Tradition: Fox’s Wedding Parade
How many tales of Japanese folklore do you know? Japan has many mysterious stories from the Muromachi Period and the Edo Period that have been passed down the generations. Among such stories, today, we introduce a tale related to kitsune, or the fox. It is said that in the old times, foxes lived in the Kirinzan, Tsugawa District of Niigata Prefecture and that there were many sightings of a light called the kitsune-bi (fox-fire). It is even said that the number of kitsune-bi sightings of this district is number 1 in the world.
Fox’s Wedding Parade
（Kitsune no Yomeiri Gyoretsu） （狐の嫁入り行列）
In this district where foxes were often seen, weddings in the old times were held from dusk to night. People formed a line and walked with lanterns in their hands. The sight of foxes walking alongside them was viewed as the kitsune-bi. This then became a large event involving the entire town and was passed on. Now, the scale of the event has grown so large that there are tens of thousands of tourists visit the event.
1. Departure (17:00 ~)
It is now the departure of the bride dressed as a fox. Where is her final destination? From here, they will spend a few hours walking through the town to the final destination. Can you see the fox-like gestures? (the hands)
2. Dressing Up
A huge number of people crowd around the parade. Even regular visitors are able to participate with fox-like make up and ears. This is not only a sight to see but an event you can actually experience so it’s very exciting!
3. The Local Children
5. The Wedding Hall
6. The finale
The finale takes place in the Kirinzan where it has been said to be many kitsune-bi sightings in the old times. On a small boat, they glide above the waters heading for the gleaming torii gate that stands at the entrance of the Kirinzan. The bride goes through the torii and disappears deep into the mountains. This signals the mystical end of this festival.
The fox’s wedding is an event that lets you experience a different taste from the kind of events that are held in Tokyo nowadays. It is held on May 3rd every year. Definitely go and experience the fox-makeup for yourself!
Information: Tsugawa Kitsune no Yomeiri Gyoretsu
Place: Kirinzan Park （麒麟山公園）, Tsugawa District of Niigata Prefecture
Dates: May 3, 10:00 ~ 21:00
Price: Free (make up: 300 yen ~ 600 yen)