Kiyabuki god festival ‘Chii Hachimanʼ

The Miyama region is home to many beautiful thatched roof homes, also known as ‘Kayabukiʼ. These Kayabuki hold a strong historic significance, and showcase the traditional craftsmanship that was very common hundreds of years ago. The thick thatch roofs have a very characteristic shape and create and insulated layer during the cold winter months. Wooden braces at the top also indicated someoneʼs social status in the village according to how many were displayed.


When visiting the iconic ‘Kayabuki Villageʼ you will see nothing but thatch roofs as it is such a well preserved landmark. It is almost difficult to distinguish what time period you are in when standing in the village as the ambiance is truly rustic.

Nestled in the woods outside of Kayabuki village lies a beautiful Shinto shrine.

Once a year there is an extravagant performance to honor the spirit of the god.

The ambiance of the event is truly transforming. A band of wind instruments creates an atmosphere like no other.

The grounds leading up to the alter are surrounded by paper lanterns and not a single detail is overlooked.

The participants in the ceremony are all dressed in coordinated garb depending on their role in the ceremony.

The event begins with a series of prayers and bows to the alter from the ‘Gūjiʼ or Chief Priest who leads the ceremony.

There are a series of rituals followed by a performance from the men at the ceremony. They carry a tabernacle that houses the spirit of the god around the shrine five times. The ornamented tabernacle is supported by heavy cedar beams. It takes several men to lift this and they finish this display by hoisting it in the air three times and carrying it all the way trough the village.

 Close behind them the children do a similar performance on a much smaller scale.

The event is very involved and hundreds of people are there to watch it.

The intention of this ceremony is to ward off bad luck for the year to come and ensure a safe future for the families in the village.

I personally had a great time watching this event and made sure to enjoy everything Kayabuki Village had to offer. I ended the trip with a visit to Café Milan where I tried their fantastic Black Sesame Gelato.

Be sure to not to miss this event if you are in Miyama in October! Itʼs a one of a kind experience and one I will never forget!