Takayama Festival is said to have started sometime between the late 16th century and 17th century and is comprised of two festivals: “Sannō Matsuri” in spring and “Hachiman Matsuri” in autumn.
The Spring Takayama Festival or Sannō Matsuri is an annual festival for Hie Jinja Shrine and is held on April 14 and 15.
The Autumn Takayama Festival or Hachiman Matsuri is an annual festival for Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine (also known as "Hachimanjinja" to the local residents) and is held on October 9 and 10.
Takayama Festival is the general term for the two matsuri. It is one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan.
Because the different shrines hold the festival in spring and autumn, the location where the festival parade is held also varies.
For Takayama Festival, matsuri-yatai festival floats, 12 in spring and 11 in autumn, are paraded through the streets and display their gorgeous appearance for spectators.
Several hundred people participate in the festival parade, dressed in traditional costumes. They walk around a designated area with performers of ohayashi (Japanese orchestra), garaku (ancient court music) and shishimai (lion dance).
In the nighttime of the first days of both festivals, approximately 100 lanterns are lit on each float, and the floats are then paraded through the area for all to see.
Spring Takayama Festival: April 14 & 15 annually
Autumn Takayama Festival: October 9 and 10 annually