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Blast in Japan Summer 2006

Festivals and Fireworks in Chugoku & Shikoku Region
– July and August Edition –

Hiroshima Minato Yume Hanabi (fireworks)
Various art of fireworks including the huge 10-go-dama (shell diameter approx. 30cm), Air Niagara and Offshore Star Mine brilliantly color up the sky and water surface of Hiroshima Port.
[Dates] July 22, 2006
[Time] 20:00 – 21:00
[Location] Hiroshima Port, Ujina Gaibou Futou (pier)
Minami-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture
[Access] 15-min-walk from Kaigan-dori stop:
take tram from JR Hiroshima Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 082-247-6738 (Hiroshima Matsuri Committee)
[URL] http://www.minato-yumehanabi.com/
(Hiroshima Minato Yume Hanabi, Japanese)
Warei Grand Festival Uwajima Ushioni Matsuri
A couple of “Ushioni”, bull demons made of bamboo frame about 5 to 8 meters long covered with red fabric or palm, with a long neck ogre mask and a tail of sword, walk around the city as they swing their heads and enormous bodies. On top of the parade of the Ushioni, the festival is filled with excitement of the Uwajima Odori (folk dance competition), fireworks display, mikoshi procession and bull fighting. The festival is finished up with its valiant highlight “Hashirikomi” on the final day, where drumbeats roar the surface of the torch-lit river and a number of mikoshi and dashi (festival floats) carry out a rampage in the water.
[Dates] July 22-24, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each sub-event
[Location] Kisaiya Road, around the city
Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture
[Access] 10-min-walk from JR Uwajima Station
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0895-24-1111 (extension 263)
(Uwajima City Division of Commerce Industry and Tourism)
[URL] http://ushioni.gaina.ne.jp/
(Uwajima Ushioni Matsuri official web site, Japanese)
Oda Tourou Matsuri
A big summer festival with ox wagons, log-like festival floats, painted paper lanterns, children’s procession, drums and dancing parade goes around the neighborhood. More than 7,000 paper lanterns will be floated on Odagawa River, and there will be a reading of the Buddhist sutra by a resident priest of Seijouji Temple as well. On August 15th, the Yamanokami-no-Hi-no-Matsuri (fire festival) will be held in the same town where fire letters on the mountainside and 5,000 fires will be lit (have a look at the official web site; all are in Japanese but you can see pictures).
[Dates] July 29, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each sub-event

Chuo-Shotengai (main commercial street), Odagawa Meiji Bridge area
Oda-chiku, Uchiko-cho, Kita County, Ehime Precture

[Access] 30-min-taxiride from JR Uchiko Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0892-52-3111 (Uchiko Town office Oda branch)
[URL] http://www.town.uchiko.ehime.jp/sightseeing/
(Uchiko Town official web site, Japanese)
Okayama Korakuen Special Night Opening: Illusion Garden
For two weeks during summer break, the beautiful Japanese Garden will enhance its beauty with candle light and other special illumination turning itself into one illusionary space. As a summer specialty, visitors are welcome to relax in the soothing atmosphere with drinks (beer) and evening snacks. There will also be jazz and a cappella live performances at the special stage.
[Dates] July 29 – Aug 15, 2006
[Time] light-up...19:00, garden closes at 21:30
[Location] Okayama Korakuen
1-5 Korakuen, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture
[Access] take local bus from JR Okayama Station to Korakuen-mae bus stop
[Admission] Adults...JPY 350/ Children... JPY 140
[Inquiry] 086-272-1148 (Okayama Korakuen)
[URL] http://www.okayama-korakuen.jp/news/news.cgi?p=tn&id=20060627175615
(Okayama Korakuen official web site, Japanese)
Yamaguchi Tanabata Chochin Matsuri (lantern festival)
Several thousand paper lanterns in crimson color line up creating a mystical and illusionary tunnel of red. Besides the lantern tunnel, other kinds of paper lanterns are displayed in different ways including the Chochin Mikoshi, and the mass dance adds more excitement to the festival. This is one of the Three Great Fire Festivals of Japan.
[Dates] August 6-7, 2006
[Time] depend on each sub-event
[Location] Park Road central shopping district
1-chome Ekimae-dori, Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Pref.
[Access] 5-min-walk from JR Yamaguchi Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 083-932-3456
(Yamaguchi Furusato Matsuri Planning Committee)
[URL] http://www.city.yamaguchi.lg.jp/kanko/org/eng/
(Yamaguchi City official web site, English)
(Yamaguchi City official web site, detailed information from 2005, Japanese)
Yosakoi Matsuri
A representative seasonal feature of Kochi which its reputation has spread widely across the country, Yosakoi Matsuri in its home includes 20,000 dancers in fancily created costumes and naruko* parading down the streets led by floats called jikatasha. Although the dancing itself derives from Japanese folkdance in this region, the music used in the dances varies from traditional Japanese music to samba, rock, etc. Very loud, lively and energetic.
*naruko... . a traditional agricultural tool used to chase off birds from the fields by making loud noise.
It is used as a musical instrument in yosakoi
[Dates] August 9-12, 2006
[Time] depend on each sub-event
[Location] Outesuji Main Competition Site, city center
2-chome Kita-Honmachi, Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture
[Access] 15-min-walk from JR Kochi Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 088-823-4016 (Kochi City Tourist Information)
[URL] http://www.yosakoi.com/en/index.html
(Yosakoi Matsuri official web site, English)
Naruto City Noryo Hanabi (fireworks)
From the same day, the grand Awa-Odori that invites one million audience from across the country every year will be held in the same Tokushima Prefecture, and a great portion of the audience come to this fireworks as well. Because the fireworks cannons are set right by the audience viewing site, together with the crowd and cheer, the impact of this fireworks is immense.
[Dates] August 12, 2006
[Time] 20:00 – 21:00
[Location] Naruto City Culture Hall area
24-7 Minamihama Aza-Higashima, Muya-cho, Naturo City, Tokushima Prefecture
[Access] 15-min-walk from JR Naruto Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 088-685-3748 (Naruto Awa-odori Committee)
[URL] http://www.city.naruto.tokushima.jp/kanko/index2.htm
(Naruto City Sightseeing Information Center, Japanese)
A nationwide known festival that boasts a history of 400 years, the Awa-odori turns the whole city of Tokushima one big swirl of dance, music and festival excitement. Along the music played by shamisen (three-stringed instrument), drums, kane, and flutes, women dance gracefully and men heartily and strongly with their hips kept low.
[Dates] August 12-13, 2006
[Time] depend on each sub-event
[Location] City center
2-chome Shinmachibashi, Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture
[Access] 10-min-walk from JR Tokushima Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 088-621-5232 (Tokushima City Tourist Information)
[URL] http://www.awaodori.net/index.html
(Awaodori official web site, Japanese)
Kanmon Kaikyo Hanabi (fireworks)
The same fireworks as introduced in Blast in Japan Summer 2006 Kyushu & Okinawa, but seen from the other side of the Kanmon Channel. The Shimonoseki-side highlight of the 13,000 fireworks shot up from both sides of the channel is the 1-shaku-5-sun shell fireworks, and the musical fireworks is also something you cannot miss.
[Dates] August 13, 2006
[Time] 19:40 – 20:40

Arukaport Shimonoseki
1-15 Arukaport, Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

[Access] 15-min-walk from JR Shimonoseki Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0832-23-2001 (Shimonoseki 21st Century Committee)
[URL] http://www.shimonoseki21c.jp/firework/index.html
(Shimonoseki City official web site, Japanese)
Tosa City Otsuna Matsuri
About 1,000 sturdy men splits into half, the North and South, pulling a rope made of Tosa Washi (Kochi rice paper) ranging as long as 100 meters, with a circumference of 2 meters weighing 1.2 tons. There will be other events such as naruko dancing and nage-mochi (rice cake throwing).
[Dates] August 19, 2006
[Time] depend on each sub-event
[Location] Prefectural Tosa Ino Route (in front of Tosa City Hall)
3451-1Takaokacho-Otsu, Tosa City, Kochi Prefecture
[Access] 40-min-taxiride from JR Kochi Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 088-852-1261
(Tosa City Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
[URL] http://www.kochi-shokokai.jp/tosashi/event/index2.htm
(Tosa City Chamber of Commerce and Industry official web site, Japanese)
Innoshima Suigun Matsuri
The first day is the day for fire festival, and the second is for sea. This is the biggest festival in Innoshima that reminds one of the days of the samurai when they had a gallant navy. The fire festival is consisted of the Chorakumai Contest, samurai procession, navy drums and fireworks, whereas the sea festival includes Kohaya (messenger boats) race, participatory Kohaya race recreating the history of the strong sea heroes.
[Dates] August 26-27, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Innoshima Amenity Park Shimanami Beach
57 Innoshima Ohama-cho, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Pref.
[Access] from JR Onomichi Station take local bus for 30 min.
and get off at Innoshima Ohashi, walk 10 min.
[Admission] free

(Innoshima Suigun Matsuri Planning Committee)

[URL] http://www.city.onomichi.hiroshima.jp/
(Onomichi City official web site, Japanese)
Takeuchi Shrine Grand Festival
Takeuchi Shrine is a shrine that enshrines the God of long life. The Grand Festival goes on until late at night with several hundred eat-out and toy/game stalls along the approach and within the shrine precincts, drawing nearly 100,000 visitors every summer. On the following day September 1st from 4:00am, a procession of a sacred and mystical Korei-Gyoushiki will be made.
[Dates] August 31, 2006
[Time] depend on each event

Takeuchi Shrine grounds and nearby area
303 Yawata-cho, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture

[Access] from JR Matsue Station take local bus for 15 min. get off at Takeuchi Jinja-mae, walk 3 min.
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0852-37-0435 (Takeuchi Shrine)
[URL] http://www.matsukoku-mlit.go.jp/
(Matsue National Highway Office, Japanese)
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