Kangensai Festival 宮島管絃祭
Colorful parade for Kangensai festival.
Boat trips on rivers and ponds aristocratic properties.
Boats and court music
Medieval ships gliding on the water, accompanied by the haunting sound of drums, flutes and other stringed instruments, all supported by a cheering crowd?
This is the Kangensai festival! Kangen is elegant and refined music that was played during the Heian period (794-1185) with orchestral drums, flutes and stringed instruments. The nobles enjoyed this music especially during boat trips on rivers and lakes.
The annual ceremony, one of the most beautiful in Japan, honors the Shinto gods. The people of Miyajima say that Taira-no-Kiyomori (1118-1181), the last warlord in the Heian period, built the Itsukushima Shrine. Ancestral customs of the island were then grouped and celebrated with a festival dedicated to the gods of the shrine. During the graceful Kangensai party, thousands of lanterns are hung on ships that are reflected on water. The colorful costumes of participants and special music are born again each year.