At the end of April, Yosano celebrated its three big annual festivals: Kayadani festival, Migochi festival and Iwataki festival. The festivals are some of the most important events in the town’s annual calendar, and they present a good opportunity to witness the celebration of age-old Japanese culture and Shinto traditions. The town’s children often spend many weeks practicing for the celebrations, learning the dances and music for dashi (山車)parades, in which lavishly decorated floats are taken around the town’s main streets. The highlight of the festival is the appearance of the mikoshi ( 御輿: shrine float): the shrine’s god is ceremoniously removed from the shrine in which it normally resides, and it paraded around the streets on the shoulders of the townsmen. The ritual is said to drive away impurity and bring good fortune to the town for the coming year. At the Kayadani festival, taking the kami (神: shrine deity) back to its home necessitates a slightly perilous but enjoyably raucous climb up the hundred-or-so steps to the top of the hill where the kami normally resides. This year, the festivals also coincided with the abdication of Emperor Akihito and the coming of a new ‘reiwa’ era; the coming together of the town’s residents and celebration of time-old traditions seems a fitting way to both celebrate the previous era and usher in a new period in the town’s history.