Ikaho Festival takes place from September 18-20 in the hot spring town just outside Shibukawa.
Festivities start on September 18 with the Roka Festival, a tea ceremony held in memory of Tokutomi Roka, a Japanese writer and philosopher. Water is drawn from the hot spring source to give thanks for the amazing quality and abundance of the onsen water that makes the town so famous.
The next day, September 19, the 神輿 (mikoshi) portable shrine is paraded around the town’s main streets. They carry it all the way up the 365 stone steps and bring it back to the shrine at the top! Taru-mikoshi made from sake barrels accompany the main mikoshi, and the narrow steps make for some thrilling viewing as the mikoshi carriers bump into each other on their journey up and down the stairs.