The Funaoka Taisai, or "Funaoka Grand Festival", is an annual ritual held at Kenkun Shrine on Mt. Funaoka in northwestern Kyoto. Known as the shrine where the 16th century warlord Oda Nobunaga is deified, the festival is held on October 19th, which happens to be the same date that Nobunaga marched victoriously into the ancient capital in 1568. Oda Nobunaga is still remembered in Japanese history as the person who precipitated an end to the period of unrest that had plagued the country since the latter half of the Muromachi Period and paved the way to Japan's eventual modernization, uniting almost all of the largely independent fiefdoms under his banner before his death during an insurrection in 1582.
Kenkun Shrine's Funaoka Taisai was conceived as a festival to extol the accomplishments of Oda Nobunaga, recognize his contributions to the country, and tell future generations about his history. Offerings of food and drink are made to the enshrined warrior, and prayers are conducted by the shrine priests, who lead visitors along with them in the show of reverence. Each year the festival's staples are a performance of the plainclothes nō dance "Atsumori", said to have been a favorite of Nobunaga, and a bugaku performance, both offered up on the shrine's stage-like haiden.
A third offering is subject to change, and in the past has included demonstrations of weaponry, such as matchlock rifles performed by men in period armor, and treasure exhibitions. In 2015, the offering was a short show of falconry presented by the Suwa Falconry Preservation Society.
If you're in Kyoto in October, join the locals at Mt. Funaoka to remember a key figure in Japanese history and enjoy the Funaoka Taisai!
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