Iizaka Kenka Matsuri is considered to be one of the three major fighting festivals in Japan and it is notoriously rough. Six mikoshi-like structures decorated with lanterns do battle while men ride on top, but participants often fall into actual fighting in this chaotic crowd of people.

This is a three day festival. It comes to a climax in the evening of the second day. Six large two-ton structures coming from all over town gather in the Hachiman Shrine complex and do battle. This shrine is in fact dedicated to a Japanese war god. The taiko drums add heat to this steaming summer night.

If you’re going to visit Iizaka for the festival, keep in mind the town is also famous for its hot springs.

When: Starts the day before the first Saturday of October and ends the day after

Where: Iizaka Hachiman Shrine (Fukushima City, Fukushima)

Access: Five mins walk from Iizaka Onsen Station

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