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When you travel, you want to make sure you don't miss out exciting major events that are held only once a year, right? Or maybe you want to arrange your trip around a season that has a bunch of big festivals going on. This section's a place to introduce major events that are going to be held one-two months ahead, and it covers the entire country. More and more information will be added all year long, so whether you're thinking or not of traveling to the country of festivals keep your eyes fixed on this page and see what kinds of things are going on in Japan!
< April - Vol.2-1 >
Apr 12-14, 2007 | Sannou Festival
Otsu City / Shiga Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Hiyoshi Taisha Sannou-sai)
Hiyoshi Taisha Sanno Festival
Photo Courtesy of Biwako Visitor's Bureau
This grand, gallant, energetic yet some times quiet and sacred festival is designated as one of the Three Grand Festivals of the lake countries (Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan) and is a festival going on for a month and a half praying for peace and rich harvest. Amongst all the rituals and ceremonies especially eye-catching and breath-taking are the rituals taking place on the 12th through 14th of April.

<Uma-no-Shinji> held on the 12th is the descending of the mikoshi (portable shrine) from the shrine at the top of Mt.Ushio led by torch fire. On the 13th there is the grand and valiant Hanawatarishiki, a procession of marchers dressed in warrior armors and eboshi. Happening on the same evening from around 19:00 is probably the largest event of all, the Yoimiyaotoshi which four mikoshi from the shrines are shaken almost in a violent manner that the floor of the venue is almost torn.
Events from the 14th and 15th have a totally different atmosphere from the previous weeks, carried out in a quiet yet gorgeous and ceremonious mood. Starting around 15:00 this day the mikoshi crosses the lake and goes back to Hiyoshi Shrine, and the 6-week-festival closes on the 15th with a solemn ceremony.
[Dates] (from mid March to ) April 12th (Thu), 13th (Fri), 14th (Sat) & 15th (Sun)
[Time] 4/12              8:00-21:00
4/13              9:00-21:00
4/14              8:30-17:30
[Place] Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine
5-1-1 Sakamono, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) to JR Kyoto Station and transfer to JR Tokaido-Sanyo Honsen Shinkaisoku (rapid) to JR Hieizan Sakamoto Station. 5-min-busride to Hiyoshi Taisha bus stop. 2-min-walk.
[Admission] JPY300
[Inquiry] 077-578-0009 (Hiyoshi Taisha)
[URL] http://www.biwako-visitors.jp/
(Biwako Visitors Bureau TOP, JPN / ENG / CHN / KOR)
(Hiyoshi Shrine Official Website, Japanese)
>> Shiga Prefectural Guide
Apr 13-17, 2007 | Yayoi Festival
Nikko City / Tochigi Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Yayoisai)
Yayoisai is a traditional and historical spring festival that has been continuing from the Nara Period for 1,200 years. Every moment of the festival is full of brilliant colors and bright spring atmosphere with a total of 12 flower house floats approaching the shrine up the mountainside and traditional festival music flowing in the air.
[Dates] April 13th (Fri) – April 17th (Tue)
Yayoi Festival Nikko
[Time] 4/13        13:00 start
4/14        13:00 – 16:00 (approx)
4/15        10:00 start
4/16         9:00 start
4/17         9:30 – 19:30 (approx)
[Place] Futarasan Shrine
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tobu Asakusa Station take Tobu Super Express Kegon to Tobu Nikko Station. 10-min-busride to Nishisando Bus Stop. 8-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0288-54-0535 (Futarasan Shrine)
[URL] http://www.nikko-jp.org/yayoisai/
(Nikko Tourist Association Yayoisai Information, Japanese)
(Futarasan Shrine Official Website, Japanese)
>> Tochigi Prefectural Guide
Apr 14-15, 2007 | Takayama Spring Festival < Sannou Festival>
Takayama City / Gifu Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Haru no Takayama Matsuri <Sannou Matsuri>)
Takayama Festival Spring Sannou Festival
Photo Courtesy of Takayama City
Takayama Matsuri is the general name for the two seasonal grand festivals held in this area, the Sannou Matsuri in spring and Hachiman Matsuri in autumn, and is one of the Three Most Beautiful Festivals in Japan. Leading 12 dazzling floats, the procession of music, dance, traditional performances and more gracefully goes through the town providing a sight of a noble parade several centuries ago. Three of the floats are loaded with skillful tricks and crafts, and after the various events held during the day the floats are lit with orange lantern light in the evening. Though the celebrations on the first day which is only a prelude to the second are gorgeous enough, the excitement reaches its peak on the second day for the real festival.
[Dates] April 14th (Sat) – April 15th (Sun)
[Time] 4/14              9:00-21:00
4/15              9:00-16:00
[Place] Takayama Jin’ya Area
Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take bullet train to JR Nagoya Station and transfer to JR Takayama Honsen. Get off at JR Takayama Station. 10-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0577-32-3333 (Takayama City Toursim Bureau)
[URL] http://www.hidatakayama.or.jp/ 
(Hida Takayama Tourist Association Top Page, ENG/CHN/KOR/FRA/DEU/
(Takayama City Official Website, Takayama Festival Information, Japanese)
>> Gifu Prefectural Guide
 Apr 15, 2007 | Kawanakajima Battle
Fuefuki City / Saitama Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Kawanakajima Kassen Sengoku Emaki)
Kawanakajima Kassen Sengoku Emaki is the last event that wraps up the spring peach blossom festival of the land of peach. A total of 900 members dress up as warriors of the Takeda Troop and Uesugi Troop and recreate the battle scene of the historically famous Kawanakajima Battle.
Though the real Kawanakajima Battle occurred in present day Nagano, the event started in this tow as there is a place called Kawanakajima. Specialists of traditional cannon (Yonezawa domain Inatomi style gunnery troop of 400 years of tradition) are invited from Yonezawa City (Yamagata Prefecture) and add realness to the recreation with the thundering booms of the powerful cannons. In addition, about 60 members perform a marvelous play of swordfighting and stunts right in front of the audience making the scene more exciting and thrilling.
[Dates] April 15th (Sun)
[Time] 13:00 – 15:30
[Place] in front of Fuefuki City Office, Fuefuki Riverbeds
Fuefuki City, Yamanashi Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station or JR Shinjuku Station take JR Chuo Line to JR Isawa Station. 20-min-walk from Fuefuki City Office.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 055-262-4111 (Fuefuki City Tourism, Commerce and Industry Bureau)
[URL] http://www.isawa-kankou.org/event/kawanaka/kawanakajima-poto.htm
(Isawa Onsen Tourism Association, Kawanakajima Photos, Japanese)
>> Saitama Prefectural Guide
Apr 15, 2007 | Fuchu Kyokusui-no-En
Toyama City / Toyama Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Fuchu Kyokusui-no-En)
During the Heian Period the aristocrats and nobles gathered in the garden of Kakuganji Temple and enjoyed a kind of cultural luxury of composing waka (Japanese poem) and drinking sake (rice wine). The participants sat along a stream that carried a lacquered cup of sake, and as the cup approached each of the members read out loud their poem, competing in their speed and quality of the composition. Fuchu Kyokusui-no-En today is a reproduction of this noble game of the Heian aristocrats. Additionally to the poem-reading, several other ancient cultural events and recreation of the lord’s procession will take place in relation to the ritual.
[Dates] April 15th (Sun)
[Time] 10:00      Event Opening
12:45      Kyokusui-no-En
[Place] Fuchu Furusato Nature Park, Kakuganji Temple
5692 Fuchumachi Nagasawa, Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) Toki to JR Echigo Yuzawa Station and transfer to JR Super Express Hakutaka, get off at JR Toyama Station. From JR Toyama Station take JR Takayama Honsen for 10min to Hayahoshi Station. 10-min-taxiride.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 076-469-2496 (Fuchu Kyokusui-no-En Executive Committee)
[URL] http://www8.city.toyama.toyama.jp/kanko/english/index.html
(Toyama Sightseeing Guide Top, English)
>> Toyama Prefectural Guide
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