Japan is well known for holding numerous seasonal festivals each year, but the upcoming event at in Kinosaki Onsen is especially important.
Visits to Japan are usually full of opportunities to immerse yourself in traditional culture and history, from the numerous festivals to the many temples, places, and gardens. However, this year, on 23 April, all of these come together at Kinosaki, peaceful retreat just two-and-a-half hours away from Kyoto.
Located in the Hyōgo Prefecture, Kinosaki is home to a sacred statue of an 11-headed, seven-foot Buddha that is only unveiled to the public in its entirety every 33 years. Called Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu meaning “11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy,” the Buddha is in the main building of the Onsenji temple, which dates back to 738 AD. The special reveal will take place during the Onsen Festival, at the top of Mount Taishi near the Kinosaki Ropeway.
The coastal town is also famous for its onsen (traditional natural hot spring baths), which are located along the picturesque willow-lined river and surrounded by scenic mountains. During the reveal at the Onsen Festival, three of these hot springs will be open to the public for free.
The festival will also include numerous events and food stalls in and around Kinosaki. It is an especially special event for the younger generations on the town, those under 33 years old, who have never stature, designated a national treasure, in its entirety. During the usual annual Kinosaki Festival, only a small portion of the Buddha is revealed each year.
Find out more about the festival at Kinosaki’s official website.