Aioi Peron Matsuri – Dragon Boat Racing Festival

May 30 & 31, 2015

Himeji, Japan

Aioi Peron Matsuri – Dragon Boat Racing Festival

Image Courtesy: U.S. Pacific Command used under the Creative Commons Licence

Aioi Peron Matsuri, also known as the Dragon Boat Racing Festival, is an annual festival celebrated in Japan, which marks the arrival of summer. This takes place on the last weekend of May every year.

The festival begins with a huge display of fireworks on the first day followed by a colourful parade of energetic dance performances which provide the backdrop to the main attraction, The Dragon Boat Race – a fiercely competitive rowing race, which takes place on the second day.


Brief History

In 1655, the dragon boat race was brought from China to Nagasaki. Later in 1922, it is believed that some Nagasaki industrial workers were transferred to Aioi, who brought the dragon boat races with them. The boats are normally rigged with decorative patterns and fierce dragonheads. Each garnished boat is crewed by 32 people who include drummers, a cox and a gong percussionist.

The locals form teams and race against one another on boats in a highly competitive manner. The teams maybe all-men teams, all-female teams, and knuckle four. Though this festival is not very famous among tourists, the locals love and celebrate it in a large manner, making it a great opportunity for people to enjoy a typical local Japanese festival.

Dragon Boat Racing Festival

Image Courtesy: U.S. Pacific Command used under the Creative Commons Licence


Things to look out for at the Dragon Boat Racing Festival:

The Aioi Boat Park houses a beautifully crafted dragon boat monument.

The infinite number of delicious food stalls selling sumptuous local street food and munchies.

The various performances and the parade that adorn the main street, especially the Okinawan-style taiko performance and the Japanese pirate dance performance.

The local school’s brass band along with the local kindergarten kids.

International performances.

Japanese historic performance which highlight the country’s rich historic culture.


It’s nice, local atmosphere and energetic people makes it a wonderful weekend getaway. The entry being free, one should visit drive to Himeji or make a 20 mins walk from the JR Aioi Station to witness this fascinating festival.


Date & Time: 

May 30th – Saturday – Firewords – 19:30 –20:50

May 31st – Sunday   – Boat Race – 10:00 – 15:00

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