text by Shiki Sugawara
photo by Yuichiro Noda

MATSURI Issue : 非日常性を纏う、美しい花嫁行列――七行器行列 /Nanahokai Gyouretsu——An Extraordinary Bride’s Parade

NeoL_Matsuri262|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri251|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri237|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri256|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri268|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri267|Photography : Yuichiro Noda

NeoL_Matsuri249|Photography : Yuichiro Noda




Aizutajima Gion Festival is one of the three major Gion Festivals in Japan along with Kyoto Gion Festival and Hakata Gion Festival, which has a history that lasted for the past 800 years. “Nanahokai Gyouretsu” is a parade with men and women in their formal costumes. It is also called the Bride’s Parade because of the beauty of women as a bride is well shown in their formal wedding costumes. The parade goes through the crowd for about 1000 km and right to the shrine.

The ritual god of Gion Festival appears to be the figure with a head of a bull served in sev-en plates for the purpose of the prayers. People wish to stay away from disasters and dis-eases; and to be grated with good marriage and harvest.

Weddings and funerals are considered as the most special day in the lifetime of a person. A wedding is like a ceremony of moving the soul of the bride from her birthplace to her married one’s house. Japanese people recognize the idea of regeneration as crucial from ancient times. The concept of life and death is perceived as it has to do with the flow of time.
The costume of the Bride on Hare’s Day is designed for the purpose of keeping away from the evil power which will be brought to the husband’s family especially by the bride.It is believed that brides have a tendency to be obsessed by evil spirits and so the wish of a disaster-free life is made. That is what “Nanahokai Gyouretsu” is mainly about.

It rains a lot at the time when Gion Festival is held. People would rent kimono and dress up before the festival begins.The ritual ceremonies were done by only families related to it, but nowadays it is allowed for everyone to attend. The fee of the hair-make and kimono that up to 4,000 is provided by the town of Minamiazu. The extraordinary parade is getting the attention of people not just from local, but also visitors from all over Japan.
The number of people participating in the parade is also growing. Participants get to take pictures in their kimonos since it is a rare opportunity.

Wearing special costumes on Hare’s Day and joining the sacred ritual parade is a special occasion even in modern days.

詳しくはこちら 南会津町観光物産協会公式ページ(

photography Yuichiro Noda
text Shiki Sugawara



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