Wajima Kiriko Art Museum Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

Wajima Kiriko Art Museum


2017.09.19

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

Festivals to celebrate the Gods have been a tradition in Japan for centuries. The myriad of festivals around Noto Peninsula place towering kiriko floats at the center of their celebrations which, when not in use, are stored in the Kiriko Art Museum where the several meter high lanterns can be admired close up.

  • Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Recently relocated from a more hidden location into full view on the port of Wajima City, the Kiriko Art Museum has deservedly become an unmissable attraction on the Noto Peninsula. With many festivals taking place in the region between the months of July and October, the tradition of carrying kiriko lanterns upon shrines is an important one in the eyes of locals.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Originally stored in a warehouse outside of the festival season, the kiriko were eventually awarded a place in their own gallery in Wajima so they could be appreciated throughout the year by both visitors and locals looking to get a closer look at these towering structures and the traditions behind them. There are around 20 different types of kiriko lanterns which are made up of a paper center decorated with Japanese script and vibrant designs and held in place by black lacquer or gold-coated wooden frames.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    To comprehend the sheer size of the kiriko, follow the ramp round the back of the museum which also reveals the intricate designs painted onto the backs of the lanterns. The kiriko on display in the museum come from different periods with the oldest being built in during the Edo period. All originally built as small kiriko, some of the floats have been built on year upon year to create some of the tallest structures in Japan which, in turn, is said to increase the amount of respect shown to the Gods thanks to the work put into their creation.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Hand in hand with the impressive height of the kiriko comes the considerable weight of the wooden structures. With a standard-sized kiriko weighing in at 400kg, around 20 people come together at the festival to march the kiriko through the streets. The biggest one which has wheels is 16.5 meters in height and 4 tonnes in weight.Other kirikos, 13-15 meters in height and 2 tonnes in weight are required to lift them off the gorund with 100 strong people.While spectators frequently sneak under the kiriko to get a feel for their weight, the chosen carriers are carefully selected for their strength and height to assure that the weight is equally distributed between the members of the group.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

  • Whether you're able to make it to a kiriko festival or not, you can get a good insight into the vibrancy of the events in the film room on the first floor of the museum. The film on repeat shows the kiriko tradition come to life with images of hundreds of men parading through the streets, setting parts on fire and wading into the sea with the shrines as a symbol of respect for the Sea Gods who they thank for the abundance of seafood in the area.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

    The Kiriko Art Museum’s new location makes it the perfect spot to look out over the neighboring Sea of Japan from the first floor before checking out the irresistible mini kiriko on sale in the gift shop as well as other goods from the local area. The admission fee is 620 yen for adults.

    Wajima Kiriko Art Museum
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Wajimashi Marintown 6-1
    phone
    0768227100
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00
    View Allarrow

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