Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
Nagasaki Kunchi is one of Japan’s many autumn festivals. Kunchi’ means autumn festival but unlike other Japanese celebrations, this event has been in existence for 400 years. The “National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset” started in 1634 and is annually celebrated during October 7 to 9 with live dance performances (dashimono) from each district (odori-cho) in Nagasaki.
Each performance showcases the diversity of the cultures, which have influenced Nagasaki throughout the years—Chinese and Dutch. Dances and shows consist of beautifully decorated giant umbrellas and colorful floats mostly in the form of ships (takara-bune).
Tourists would also get a kick out of the dancing dragon and lion during some of the dance performances.
What makes Nagasaki Kunchi even more unique is that each district plays a part only once every seven years. This guarantees that each year, tourists and visitors will see something different.
More often than not, tickets sell out easily, so spectators join the sea of people to see street parades instead of the actual dance performances. The itinerary for the three-day celebration varies each year, but it mostly consists of exciting dance performances and parades day to night.
The itinerary for the three-day celebration varies each year, but it mostly consists of exciting dance performances and vibrant parades day to night.
To and Around Nagasaki: Making Your Way to the Festivities
Foreign tourists can easily book a flight going to Nagasaki International Airport and witness the activities during the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival.
Depending on your departure city or airport, the travel time can take anywhere between 15-30 hours while the airfare typically ranges from ¥110000 to ¥121000. To reach Suwa Shrine in 40 minutes, simply catch a bus from Nagasaki Airport for ¥900.
Tourists who are already in Tokyo can also experience Nagasaki’s festivities by traveling by plane or by train (tram).
The airfare from Tokyo to Nagasaki usually costs around ¥40000 plus the bus fare, and taking this route would help visitors reach their destination sooner.
For tourists looking for a bit of an adventure, traveling 7 hours by tram from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station, and getting off to ride the Limited Express Kamome going to Nagasaki Station for ¥20000 should sound more appealing! From Nagasaki Station, it takes 15 minutes to reach Suwa Shrine by foot.
Since Nagasaki Kunchi performances are staged in other locations aside from the Suwa Shrine, it makes sense to take the tram rather than traversing Nagasaki by foot. Tram fare is priced at ¥120 (adults) and ¥60 (children), regardless of which location you’d like to go to.
Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
18-15, Kaminishiyama-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture