Traditional Cultures in Hida Region

The Doburoku Sake Festival of Shirakawa-go

Doburoku” is young, unrefined Japanese sake which retains some white rice sediment. This Doburoku Festival is held annually from late September to mid-October at the Hachiman Shrines in and near Shirakawa-go. Although private production and distribution of alcoholic beverages is illegal, Doburoku is produced here and offered to the gods in thanks for the harvest, and to pray for continued safety and prosperity. A festival that is said to have begun some 1300 years ago, it includes various events such as a Lion Dance and Folk Songs. There are also a number of traditional rites, including one in which a five-colored flag is passed through a row of houses depicting the passing of benevolent spirits through the homes. After these events, the highlight of the festival is when the blessed sake is merrily shared amongst the villagers and other worshippers from near and far.