Apr 30
May 6

Kurayami Festival


Take your slice of horse racing and archery, shrine jostling, and giant drum performances. The Kurayami Festival is also known as the Darkness Festival because the most important parades take place under the cover of…well… darkness.

The most important procession happens on May 5.


In ancient times, the mikoshi (portable shrines) would be paraded at night when the city’s lights were off. This was so they couldn’t directly connect with the gods — a taboo at the time. Nowadays, paper lanterns guide the way and most lights stay on.

There are also many horses and horse-related ceremonies at this festival. A thousand years ago this area was known for rearing well-bred horses, and the town would race them before presenting the best in front of the court. A mock race takes place on the first day of the festival to honor that ancient tradition.

What happens?

There will be floats, horse racing, taiko drumming, mikoshi (portable shrine) processions, and lights. It takes place mainly in and around the Okunitama Shrine over a period of 7 days. The first day (April 30) involves a trip to Shinagawa to collect seawater.

Schedule 2024

The most important festivities are:

May 3

  • 13:00: Taiko performance by Musashi-Kofuku-Taiko
  • 18:30: Musical performance on 22 decorated floats
  • 20:00: Komakurabe horse-riding ritual

May 4

  • 12:30: The Manto Festival.
  • 13:00: Mikoshi will begin a procession.
  • 17:00–18:00: A performance using large taiko drums in front of the shrine.
  • 18:00–21:00: 22 floats lit with lanterns will start a procession around the shrine.

May 5

  • 10:00: The most important annual festival will begin.
  • 14:30: Large taiko drums from the surrounding areas will converge at Ōkunitama Shrine.
  • 18:00: The main part of the Kurayami Festival, Mikoshi Togyo, starts with a bang from three “signal gun” fireworks. Around 8 portable shrines are jostled and 6 big drums are beaten ferociously.

May 6

  • 04:00–09:00: The mikoshi are returned to the shrine in a procession.
  • Mantai are unique, flower-like lanterns paraded through the streets during the festival. Here, they are put on display.
  • Enjoy the fun, festive atmosphere and marvel at the mikoshi.
  • The mikoshi are transported with incredible zeal.
Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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