Obihiro Heigen Matsuri (Obihiro Plain Festival) is a major event that is held in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido in August every year. Hokkaido is the largest prefecture in Japan. The City of Obihiro is the principal city of the Tokachi region, and it developed rapidly in the early 19th century. This festival started about 70 years ago to show appreciation to the pioneers and abundant blessings of nature as well as to pray for prosperity in the future. Various events take place during the festival, such as Taiko (Japanese drum) Festival and Bon Odori dance. At the Yumefuruya event, mikoshi (portable shrines) and dancers parade down the main street of the city to the beat of the drums.
A Major Event on the Opening Day!
The first night of the festival is called Yumefuruya where spectators throw stalks of wheat into the mikoshi wishing for good fortune and an abundant harvest. The Tokachi region is well known for wheat production. Bread made with Tokachi wheat is thrown from the mikoshi as well. The parade draws many visitors.
Powerful Taiko Festival
The Heigen Taiko Matsuri is held on the second day of the festival. Over 200 taiko drummers gather from all over Hokkaido and play together. The powerful sound of taiko brings more excitement to the festival.
Bon Odori Livens up the City
Obihiro’s summer tradition Obihiro Bon Odori takes place on August 15th and 16th. Participants parade in various costumes as well as colorful yukata (casual summer kimono). They dance to a Hokkaido’s folk song called Hokkai Bon Odori through the downtown.