This year Golden week holidays fell on the first Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of May. There are many festivals and events throughout Japan but it is also a crazy time to travel, so I stayed in Fukui and experienced some local culture. I went to the Azalea (tsutsuji) festival at Nishiyama Park. Student brass bands from the local junior and senior high schools performed. The park was busy with many visitors so we rode our bikes there. I also went to the Washi Paper Village in Echizen. I went to buy more Japanese paper to bring home and I wanted to see the actual festival procession this year.
In Japanese, kami can means god or paper. The festival is related to the history of paper. It is believed that usually the paper goddess, Kawa-Kami Gozen and the two local gods stay up in the mountain, but for the festival, they will come down to the Otaki Shrine for three days.
I went on the final day. On the last day, people carry the gods around town to other shrines in a Mikoshi. I didn’t stay for the very end because there was a two hour break. But at 8:00pm the ceremony begins for the gods’ departure. They carry the Mikoshi up the mountain and back to Otaki Shrine. When they stop at shrines along the way, they run around with the Mikoshi. It looked exhausting and difficult.