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■ Blast in Japan Summer 2006

Festivals and Fireworks in Chubu Region
– July Edition –

○Thursday July 6th – Friday July 7th <Murakami Grand Festival>

As may be expected as one of the Three Grand Festivals of Niigata Prefecture, Murakami Festival is a festival of tradition, fascination, glamour and dazzle. 19 huge festival floats called oshagiri as well as 3 mikoshi, and a line of people on 14 wild horses and children make parade around the neighborhood.

[Date] July 6-7, 2006
[Hours] depend on each event

Murakami City center and around the city office
Sanno-cho, Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture

[Access] 20-min-walk from JR Murakami Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0254-53-2111 (Murakami City Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.city.murakami.niigata.jp/kanko/maturi/maturi.htm
(Murakami City Tourist Association official web site, Japanese)



○Friday July 7th – Saturday July 8th <Abare Matsuri (The Rampage Festival)>

Abare Matsuri may be one of the rare and most violent festivals in Japan you will see, with 50 kiriko (mikoshi lanterns) some as tall as 7 meters, mikoshi, and torches filling in every inch between the kiriko and mikoshi all run wild banging, smashing, crashing and burning as if the Susanoonomikoto – the god of rage and destruction in an ancient Japanese myth – himself is making one rampage. It is believed in this region that Susanoonomikoto, since he is the wild god, would grow upset if people stayed calm and peaceful. Hence this has become a festival that would even appear to a visitor’s eyes as more like a riot rather than a ritual, but is truly worth seeing.

[Date] July 7-8, 2006
[Hours] depend on each event
[Location] the entire neighborhood of Ushitsu
Noto-cho, Housu County, Ishikawa Prefecture
[Access] take bus from Anamizu Station (Noto Tetsudo railways) and get off at Ushitsu bus stop
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0768-72-2505 (Noto Town Commerce, Industry and Tourism)
[URL] http://www.town.noto.ishikawa.jp/04-travel/photo_gallery/abare_pg/index.html
(Noto Town official web site Abare Matsuri Photo Gallery)...highly recommended for good detailed photographs



○Thursday July 6th – Sunday July 9th <Shimizu Tanabata Festival>

Tanabata Festival in this neighborhood stick to the custom of celebrating it with the traditional bamboo and paper decoration, which provide warmness as well as retaining the refined elegance of the early summer festival. During the festival days the commercial streets are filled with fresh, creative and beautiful decoration from one and to the other.

[Date] July 6-8, 2006
[Hours] differ among events

Shimizu Ginza Commercial Street, Shimizu Station Ginza Commercial Street
Aioicho, Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture

[Access] just outside of JR Shimizu Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0543-53-3401 (Shimizu Tanabata Festival Planning Committee)
[URL] http://www.shimizu-cci.or.jp/tanabata/page/top/index.html
(Shimizu Tanabata Festival official web site, Japanese)



○Monday July 24th – Wednesday July 26th <Yahiko Tourou Matsuri>

Some of the sacred events in Japan date up to hundreds and thousands of years ago, and this one is one of them having an on-going history of one thousand years in Echigo Ichinomiya Yahiko Shrine. The sight of the parade on the 25th, of small to large sized lanterns stretching as long as 1 kilometer like a line of fire under the fireworks-lit vivid sky is absolutely astonishing.

[Date] July 24-26, 2006
[Hours] differ accordingly to each event

Yahiko Shrine, Yahiko Onsen neighborhood
Yahiko Village, Nishi Kabahara County, Niigata Prefect

[Access] 5-min-walk from JR Yahiko Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0256-94-3154 (Yahiko Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.e-yahiko.com/matsuri/tourou/tourou.html
(Yahiko Tourist Association official web site, Japanese)



○Tuesday July 25th, Friday July 28th and Sunday July 30th<Atami Maritime

Another dazzling seasonal highlight with shots after shots of fireworks and trillions of audience. The fireworks including Starmine and Shakudama (gunpowder filled in a ball of 30cm diameter), new kinds and above all the 1-km-long Niagara lights up the sky as bright as daytime.

[Date] July 25, 28, 30 2006
[Hours] 20:20 – end
[Location] Atami Bay
Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-busride to Ginza bus stop from JR Atami Station
[Admission] basically free

Y900 (advanced) Y1,000 (door) for anyone above 4 years of age. 1,300 advanced tickets and 300 door tickets are sold for each day, with an attached gift of air cushion.

[Inquiry] 0557-85-2222 (Atami City Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.ataminews.gr.jp/hanabi/
(Atami City Tourist Association official web site, Japanese)



○Saturday July 29th <Ryujin Matsuri>

Under the beats of the Ryujin Drum dance vigorously the 45-meter-long parent dragon and gracefully the 21-meter-long princess. Especially the parent dragon is said to be the biggest and longest dragon in Japan with a 3.3-meter-circumference at its thickest and is carried by 50 stout men. This festival based on an ancient myth of the pond of Shinrakuji Onuma is another worth seeing event of the summer.

[Date] July 29, 2006
[Hours] depend on each event
[Location] Shinrakuji Temple, Miyota Station area and Ryujin-no-Mori Park area
Miyota-cho, Kitasaku County, Nagano Prefecture
[Access] 5-min-walk from Miyotacho Station: Shinano Tetsudo railways
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0267-32-3111 (Miyota Town Commerce, Industry and Tourism)
[URL] http://www.town.miyota.nagano.jp/ryujinmaturi/index.html
(Ryujin Matsuri Planning Committee official web site, Japanese)



○Saturday July 29th <National Invitational Nagaragawa Chunichi Fireworks>

The exclusive fireworksmen selected from across the country bring their vaunty works to this firework convention that has been going on for 50 years. With the clear Nagaragawa River famous for its cormorant fishing in the back, a total of 30,000 fireworks of all kinds show another face of the river creating a marvelous performance one after another. Fireworks are also shot during the day enabling many visitors to see the very rare daytime fireworks.

[Date] July 29, 2006

Day... 9:00-19:00
Night... 19:15-20:45    

[Location] Nagaragawa Riverside, Nagaragawa River lower stream area
Kagami-iwa, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
[Access] approx. 30-min-busride (special bus for the fireworks) from JR Gifu Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 052-221-0671 (weekdays 10:00-18:00 The Chunichi Shinbun: press)
[URL] http://www.chunichi.co.jp/h17hanabi/
(National Invitational Nagaragawa Chunichi Fireworks official web site, Japanese)



○Saturday July 29th <Abekawa River Fireworks>

15,000 sky rockets and 50 cannons of set fireworks color up the river surface in rainbow colors. Be sure not to miss the super quick series of Shakudama (30cm-diameter-cannon cracker) being fired after 19:30!

[Date] July 29, 2006
[Hours] 19:00-21:00
[Location] Abekawa River upper stream
7-chome Tamachi, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture
[Access] 054-221-7199 (Abekawa River Fireworks head office)
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 093-541-5472 (Wasshoi Hyakumangoku Matsuri Office)
[URL] http://cf.mm22.jp/even10_event/web/event_detail.cfm?id=78
(Shizuoka City Office official web site, Japanese)


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