English-speaking volunteer guide club
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Let's go to the Otsu-matsuri festival
in Otsu city together!

The Otsu Matsuri (festival) of Tenson Jinjya (shrine)
is held every year on the two days before Physical Education Day in October.
Thirteen Hiki-Yama (festival floats) are paraded
with playing Ohayashi (festival music) on the floats.
People are playing rhythmic music by traditional gongs, drums and flutes.
Each float has luxurious Goblin tapestries and
a unique Karakuri doll (a mechanical marionette)
that entertains visitors on the streets.
Enjoy looking at moving art museums and Karakuri performances on the streets.
The festival invites you to the old times!!

Date : 11th of October 2015 (a half day)
Meeting place + time : JR Kyoto station at 9 am
 in front of the clock ”toki no akari” on the 2nd floor
Transportation fee : 400 yen (JR round tickets 400 yen per person)
How to apply : contact us by e-mail

For more information about click here

Otsu city
Historical Otsu town is located on the biggest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa which provides water to Kyoto and Osaka. It is also located on the Osaka-yama-goe (or Kozeki-goe) road to Kyoto. In previous times this area flourished because water and land transportation routes were developed to the capital (Kyoto) in the 16th century, and the town grew in importance. As a result merchants became wealthier and built gorgeous floats in the early 17th century (Edo period.) The people of Otsu are proud of this traditional festival that has continued from generation to generation. The floats represent the wealth and prosperity of Otsu town in the early 17th century.

In 1596, a salt vender, Shioya Jihei, performed a dance with a Tanuki (a raccoon dog) mask in the Tenson shrine festival. The people greatly were enjoyed his dance. The next year people made a bamboo float and Jihei danced on the float. This tradition continued for many years. When he couldn't dance any more due to old age, a Tanuki marionette was constructed on the float and carried around the town. In the early 17th century (Edo period), thirteen gorgeous floats were built by wealthy merchants. These floats represent not only the prosperity of Otsu, but also the enduring spirit of their ancestors that has been passed down through many generations.

We've been showing guests from overseas around Kyoto, Nara and Shiga as English-speaking volunteer guides since 2004.

It will give you a great opportunity to see Japanese historical and cultural places. We would be very happy to help your understanding of Japan and to enjoy the time here.

Please read before contacting us

Request our guide
 applying for a volunteer guide

We hope you will enjoy visiting Japan.
Gion Festival, Kyoto

Japan National Tourism Organization
List of volunteer guide groups in Japan

Sakura Free Tours changes the name into
" Sakura Volunteer Guide Club ".
(11th April 2010)

We thank you for the warm concern that you have expressed about the earthquake and tsunami disaster in north eastern Japan.
Many messages have been received by both our club and individual guides asking how we are and showing sympathy.
We truly appreciate your concern. Thank you. We hope to see you soon.

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