How to Enjoy the Ikutama Festival

Legend has it that the first emperor of Japan, Emperor Jinmu, built Ikutama Shrine in the heart of Osaka over 1500 years ago. Although the current Ikutama shrine is not the original one but a rebuilt version, it holds great importance in the hearts and minds of the people of Osaka who celebrate it every year during the Ikutama Festival — one of the three biggest, most famous festivals in Osaka.

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When is the Ikutama Festival?

The Ikukunitama Festival will be held on the following dates.

Event Date Time
July 11-12, 2023
09:00 - 20:00

What is the Ikutama Festival?

Ikukunitama Matsuri is one of the “Big Three” major summer festivals of Osaka. The festival first started being held as a religious ritual performed in order to quell epidemics, and began in the Heian period (794 – 1185 A.D.) and has been a big, important festival since the Edo period. Now known as a summer tradition, parishioners parade from Ikutama Shrine to Osaka Castle on July 12th.

Points of Interest


The most famous part of the Ikutama Festival is Rikutogyo, in which a large procession of about 700 beautifully costumed people parade toward the original enshrined ground of Ikutama Shrine, Osaka Castle.

Headed by a grand, traditional display of pillow drums and lion dances, portable shrines parade through the city in hopes of warding off epidemics.

Event Date/Time Departing Location Destination
07/12 10:00~
Ikukunitama Shrine
Osaka Castle

Since traffic is restricted on the day of the festival, you can observe the procession from the roadside.

②”Pillow Drum”

A large drum placed on a ‘taikodai’, or ‘drum deck’ is beaten by a hand called a ganji. It is said that the name Makura Taiko comes from the fact that the backrest resembles a pillow.

The taiko drums are played gently, unlike the usual cacophanic way in which they are played. It is said that the sound of the pillow drums that slowly parade around the grounds have the power to ward off evil spirits and epidemics.

Event Date/Time Event Location
07/11 20:00~
Ikukunitama Shrine

③”Lion Dance”

You can see a dynamic lion dance at Ikutama Shrine. What’s interesting about this dance is that it is said to have originated in India, but that Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous Japanese warlord, dedicated the lion dance to Ikukunitama Shrine.

Event Date/Time Event Location
07/11 19:00~
Ikukunitama Shrine

④Gold and Silver Mikoshi Parade

Two portable shrines made of gold and silver are paraded through the precincts and collide into each other violently.

The mikoshi sway vigorously in all directions with the shouts of “So-rya-so-rya,” and it looks as if the two Mikoshis are locked in combat with one another. As a spectator, you can feel the power emanating from the shouting and chanting.

Event Date/Time Event Location
07/11 19:30~
Ikukunitama Shrine

⑤Traditional Outdoor Food Stalls

You can enjoy traditional food and drinks from any of the 1,000 stalls that fill the approach to the shrine. There are also some stalls dedicated to various games you can play.

Of course, there is hot, tasty takoyaki and okonomiyaki, which are Osaka’s specialties, but there are also food stalls with more modern food items like french fries, squid, and cotton candy.

Things to Know Before Going

①Admission Fees

There are no admission fees.

②Official Event Website

You can check out the official event website here

③The Ideal Ikutama Festival Schedule is as follows

How to get there

The venue, Ikutama Shrine, is located in Tennoji, Osaka. It would be a good idea to use the subway or JR to visit.

Thanks for Reading!

There are many other interesting events and locations to check out in Osaka — if you are interested in lengthening your trip, please check out some other articles about Osaka below!

Over 200,000
Event Attendees
Osaka City, Osaka
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