Hirakata Gion Doroinkyo Mud Festival

July sees the city of Ageo north of Tokyo boost a totally unique, one-of-a-kind festival that involves rolling a portable shrine in the mud to ward off poor harvest and disease.


As far as I am aware, this is the only such matsuri of its kind, and is a very dirty affair! Essentially it involves turning people’s front yards into a complete mudbath, in which the mikoshi is violently tossed around to a lot of chanting, while participants are encouraged to throw buckets of water onto the mikoshi bearers as they roll the mikoshi in the mud



Throughout the afternoon and evening, the mikoshi is taken around the suburb to be rolled in the mud. Once they’ve rolled it in one place, they carry it to the next…



About half way through the ceremony, the mikoshi is carried down to the river for a ritual bathe



Before the muddy games re-commence…



Another unique feature of the festival is that prior to rolling the mikoshi, each household lays out a sumptuous banquet for prepared foods for everybody to enjoy, the participants and spectators alike – obviously, the competition is keen among the households as to whom can lay out the best food! Fabulous croquets made from home-grown potatoes, pickles using vegetables from the garden, huge slices of succulent watermelon, home-made ‘dango’ bounded rice balls, grilled fish caught from the river, and, of course, copious amounts of ice-cold beer and sake!!!

It really was a fun mudsuri!! Needless to say, I came way covered from head to foot in mud – luckily I managed to keep my camera lens farily clean!!



For the first time, I decided to try using the video function on my camera. An upcoming project is to learn the basics of video-editing, so that I can make some fun video features of the festivals. But for the time being here is a clip I loaded up on Youtube…

Total number of foreigners attending apart from me: zero


3 thoughts on “Hirakata Gion Doroinkyo Mud Festival

  1. Sure was covered in mud by the end of it!!! Had to make sure I camped somewhere near water for the night so that I could wash it all of me!! Sadly, my new sneekers were pretty much ruined…


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