Drawing of Lots Ceremony

The procession held on the main festival day is led by mikoshi (portable shrines), followed by the demon procession and nine danjiri (festival floats). The danjiri's parading order is decided by a drawing of lots ceremony on September 9. Representatives of the nine neighborhoods in central Iga that own danjiri solemnly draw lots before the altar of Sugawara Shrine. It is a great honor for the person who draws the first order. The ceremony is open to the public, so you can observe from outside.

Practice of Festival Music

On the upper floor of danjiri, festival music is played on gongs and drums by children, and on flutes by adults. During the Ueno Tenjin Festival, there is also one danjiri that features five different instruments, including the shamisen and small hand drums that are used in kabuki performances. About a month before the festival, children start rehearsing for festival music together in the neighborhoods that have their own danjiri. In the past they were mostly the eldest sons in these neighborhoods but with the declining number of children, girls and children from other neighborhoods also participate in the performance to support the tradition of the festival.


Hyorotsuki oni demons, who mischievously stagger towards children along the street, cause them to cry out. According to a legend of Iga, children who cry out loud watching the demons will grow up in good health, so parents sometimes deliberately put their child in front of the demons to make them cry. It is easy to feel sorry for them!

Right-Angle Turn of Danjiri

The four wheels of danjiri move only forward or backward, so danjiri cannot turn smoothly like cars do. When danjiri change direction, the fifth small wheel called “Hoko manriki” stored at the bottom is temporarily lowered. This lifts the two rear wheels off the ground and enables the danjiri to turn on three wheels. Watching the large danjiri turn 90 degrees at the corner of a narrow street in the castle town through the combined efforts of many people is a spectacular sight.


Danjiri going through the castle town with lit paper lanterns in the evening creates a beautiful dreamy atmosphere due to the gentle glow emanating from the lanterns. This night event has recently become very popular and attracts a lot of visitors. The soothing light was traditionally candlelight from candles placed inside the paper lanterns, but because they sometimes caught fire, some danjiri have replaced them with LEDs.

Footwear (Straw Sandals)

The footwear that Hyorotsuki oni (staggering demons) wear is "Waraji" or straw sandals woven from wara or straws. They are the footwear that common people wore in the past. Unlike the plastic or leather footwear commonly worn today, they are not very durable and are easily broken under pressure. In fact, the Hyorotsuki oni move vigorously that it is said that they wear through three pairs of sandals a day.


Streets in the central area are closed to traffic during the festival, and they become lined with a variety of different stalls called "Yatai" or "Roten". They sell typical festival foods such as takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and watagashi (candy floss). You can also enjoy activities such as darts and a raffle. These stalls are set up only during the festival, so browsing the stalls or buying festival foods are some of the things that both children and adults enjoy at the festival.