Nov 15, 2010
On Saturday, October 6th and Sunday, October 7th, 2010, the APU student organization Sento Taisai Planning Committee held its annual Sento Taisai festival. The event features APU students and local citizens dressed in white gowns hoisting a mikoshi float through the streets of Beppu.
The Sento Taisai (Hot Spring Capital Festival) is a student festival held in downtown Beppu. It was launched in 2003 with the aim of being a "festival that will last for 100 years". The event was held in collaboration with local residents. To ensure the safe and smooth operation of the event, the committee received assistance from the Hakuhokai, a group consisting mainly of Beppu Junior Chamber International members. In addition, the Asami Community Development Organization, a citizen's group from the Asami district of the city where the event was held, cooperated with public relations.
On the 6th, the event participants visited six of the eight hot springs of Beppu to gather hot spring water, and on the 7th an entourage consisting of the Hot Spring Shrine mikoshi float bearers, musical performers, and lion dancers departed from Hachiman Asami Shrine shouting "Sento-sa, yatto-sa" as they paraded through the event venues in the Beppu Hatto (the Eight Hot Spring Areas of Beppu). The group also paraded through Hikari-machi, the site of a major fire in January, to make a wish for recovery. In addition to APU students, APU alumni and local citizens joined the parade. It was a lively scene as onlookers lining the street shouted cheers of encouragement. Approximately 30 club alumni joined the parade as a sign of support and helped shoulder the mikoshi.
In addition to the parade, there were event stalls on the grounds of Asami Shrine and rice pounding as well as performances by APU students, local high school students and artists from Oita Prefecture, all of which added to the festive atmosphere.
Sento Taisai Planning Committee Chairman UENO Toshifumi (AP4, Japan) reflected on the event by saying, "Thanks to the cooperation of many local residents, we ran another successful event this year. In addition to this festival, we would like to plan other events, be they festivals or otherwise, that the local citizens can enjoy. I do not have much longer to go until I graduate, but I would like to spend the rest of my time at APU showing my appreciation to everyone who participated in the Sento Taisai."
The Sento Taisai has become an annual tradition in Beppu and can be expected to continue for years to come.
*The Beppu Town Planning Promotion Committee
The Beppu Town Planning Promotion Committee was established in 2003 by APU students out of the idea to make Beppu into a city that we can be even more proud of. Centering on the APU student circle "The Beppu Town Planning Promotion Committee", the Committee was set up to plan for this event. Through the SENTO TAISAI Festival they aim to create connections which go beyond regions and generations and generate a vitality and sense of togetherness in the town to make a festival which "will last 100 years".