Project Description

Shimotsuki Festival in Toyama-go (Toyama Valley)

Nestled at the foot of the Japanese Southern Alps, with some peaks rising up to over 3000 meters, Toyama Valley is a vestige of Japan’s mountain area of a bygone era. It is home to many ancient cultural rituals such as Shimotsuki Festival, a mysterious 800-year-old festival, held in every December. Late at night, in the precincts of an old shrine deep within the mountains, some village people boil water in a big pot while village elders offer prayers. The people then dance throughout the night, wearing a mask of a god. It was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property in 1979. It is also well known that this festival influenced the storywriters of the famous animation film, “Spirited Away”.

MORE FROM THE IIDA COLLECTION