Each year at the same period, the famous festival Monju-do Defune is held in Amanohashidate. We went there, it was the 24th July of this year 2016. This festival is based on an ancient legend. It is said that over the bay, a dragon was violent and caused many troubles to the villagers. One day, the god of wisdom, Monju, came and fought with the dragon. He preached the wisdom and made the dragon guardian spirit of the village. Since then, Amanohashidate organizes a festival in honor of the god Monju and the guardian spirit of the village, the dragon.
A stage on the water is specially assembled for the occasion near the rotary bridge Kaisenkyo.The temple Chionji is decorated with lanterns and booths are installed in the temple courtyard. Each year, helds a dance performance of the golden dragon and silver dragon on the stage on the water. The shores of the bay are lit with many pine torches which are burned and small paper lanterns are placed on the water. The opening ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m. on the stage. You can see the young people of the city performe in dance, music, ... The dragons dance and performance of Monju is from 8 p.m. . It lasts about 40 minutes and is followed by the fireworks. There is no reserved or paid place for this festival. It's best to arrive early at the waterfront, in front of the stage and keep your place. We managed to settle right in front of the stage on the shore, side of Chionji temple. We arrived around 5 p.m. and the shops were already open. You can, once you find your place, go enjoy the festival and buy skewers with chicken or octopus, yakisoba, pancakes, ice cream, ... until the party starts.
It is a festival that is very beautiful to see, the music is really good and the atmosphere is festive. After the fireworks, you can also take pictures of the dragons and you can try a little dragon dance for free. But beware, there are a lot of people who want to do the same and many children, so it's a mess! :D