Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui’s HP Baldwin High School wins Honolulu Festival’s Mikoshi design contest

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A conceptual drawing of HP Baldwin High School’s winning mikoshi design. The completed mikoshi will be unveiled at the Hawai’i Convention Center on March 11, 10 a.m. at the Honolulu Festival. PC: HP Baldwin High School

A team from HP Baldwin High School on Maui has won a trip to Oʻahu to showcase their winning Mikoshi Shrine Design at the Honolulu Festival. The event returns three years after it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions. 

A mikoshi is an elaborate portable shrine traditionally paraded through the streets of Japan as a part of Japanese festivals.

For their winning design, students wanted their mikoshi to symbolize the special connection between Maui and Japan. A total of 21 Baldwin students from the Japanese Club will unveil their winning design this weekend.


The mikoshi will be unveiled at 11 a.m. in the Hawai‘i Convention Center, on Saturday, March 11 and showcased at the Grand Parade on Sunday, March 12.

HP Baldwin High School Japanese Club students. PC: HP Baldwin High School

Mikoshi are carried on the shoulders of individuals in a procession using two to four poles and typically resemble a mini building.

Since the contest’s inception in 2003, Maui schools have been invited to submit unique designs inspired by the festival’s overarching theme. The theme for the 27th annual Honolulu Festival is “Connect with Aloha, Forward to the New Future.”


“Hawaiʻi and Japan have been connected for a long time so we drew inspiration from those roots,” said Rory Sato, adviser of the HP Baldwin High School Japanese Club in a news release. “We included rice and sugar cane to represent the connection we share through the immigrant farmers that first came over to Hawaiʻi from Japan. This connection is also depicted through the sakura and plumeria trees, representative figures from each area, coming together. The focus at the top of the mikoshi is the sun and we used that to show a specific connection between Maui and Japan. The figures of Amaterasu and Maui are linked to the sun and reflect a commonality our island shares with Japan through legend.”

HP Baldwin High School previously won the design competition in 2018.


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