Japan Diary: Stories of a vibrant culture, beverages & food

By Bishan Kumar
New Update
Japan Diary: Stories of a vibrant culture, beverages & food

Spiritz Magazine is bringing some fascinating stories from Japan for its readers and viewers. Spiritz Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Bishan Kumar was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan to visit the country. He has recently returned from his weeklong trip with some amazing memories on Japanese culture, and of alcobev, food and beverages from different parts of Japan.

Every Friday, an interesting and informative story will be available on Spiritz's website and other social media platforms, which will be based on the experiences and reflections gleaned through that tour.

Shingen-Ko Festival

Celebration to commemorate the famous Samurai in Yamanashi

Bishan Kumar


I was really curious to know more about Takeda Shingen in whose memory Shingen-Ko festival is being held every year in November. It was my luck that I was in Japan at the time of the festival and was invited to witness a fascinating piece of history.

Shingen-Ko festival is held at picturesque Yamanashi prefecture which is home to many of the highest mountains in Japan, which include the Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and cultural icon of the country. Yamanashi is known as Japan's “fruit kingdom;” producing more grapes, peaches, and plums than any other part of the country. Yamanashi prefecture also comes with a remarkable array of other delicacies.

Yamanashi prefecture is about 104 km away from Tokyo and the best and fastest way to reach it is to catch a fast train which takes about one and half hours from Japan’s capital. The station was full of people, many of whom were possibly heading to Yamanashi to watch the Shingen-Ko festival.

I learned that the Japanese government is offering some subsidies on hotels for the residents for attracting a larger crowd, especially as the recent edition of the festival was being held after three years due to Covid.


There is really a big craze for Takeda Shingen – the revered and feared Samurai - in Japan.

Takeda Shingen was a famous warlord of the Sengoku era who adopted the Art of War philosophy of the Chinese Sun Tzu. This philosophy is represented at the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan banner which means as fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire and immovable as the mountain.

Shingen-Ko festival, the festival held in the honour of this Samurai from a bygone era, is the largest festival in the Yamanashi Prefecture, with its main highlight being the Koshu Battalion Deployment, where more than 1,000 people dress in traditional costumes of Samurai. This parade is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the largest gathering of Samurais in the world.


Japanese love to protect their culture and history, and it was so evident at the parade ground. I was lucky to witness the fascinating story, enacted by hundreds of participants.

The much celebrated film, Kagemusha (Shadow Warrior), by the world famous Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is based on the warlord Takeda Shingen. If you want to more know about Takeda Shingen, watch this film.

But there is nothing like watching the festival in person. So, make sure to be in Yamanashi next November and come back with memories of a lifetime!