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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.2-2 >
Apr 15, 2007 | Yorii Hojo Festival
Osato City / Saitama Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Yorii Hojo Matsuri)
Yorii Hojo Matsuri is a festival recreating the scene of a samurai battle which broke out in present day Yorii area back in 1590. The festival starts as a total of 500 people dressed in traditional Japanese war armor march through the city center, followed by a war opening ceremony at Hachigatajo Park, going on into the fierce battle unfurled at Tamayodokawara (riverbeds) along Arakawa River with the sounds of the cannon booming in the air.
[Dates] April 15th (Sun)
[Time] 10:00-15:00
[Place] Town Main Street, Tamayodokawara riverbeds, Hachigatajo Park
Yorii Town, Osato County, Saitama Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Shinjuku Station take Saikyo Line to JR Omiya Station. Transfer to JR Takasaki Line and get off at Kumagaya Station (or take bullet train from JR Tokyo Station to JR Kumagaya Station; two stops), and take Chichibu Tetsudo Line to Yorii Station. 20-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 048-581-3012
(Yorii Hojo Matsuri Executive Committee; Yorii Town Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.yorii.or.jp/
(Yoriimachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japanese)                            http://homepage3.nifty.com/hoshino/Hojomatsuri/index.html
(photos of the festival, Japanese)
>> Saitama Prefectural Guide
Apr 21-29, 2007 | Mibu Kyogen
Kyoto City / Kyoto Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Mibu Kyogen)
The Mibu Kyogen is a series of 30 kyogen stages that have the themes of moral and virtue. Though the themes may be serious, the way they are expressed are comical, rhythmical and entertaining with all the actors wearing masks and perform the play along the music created by bells, drums and flute without speaking a single line. Out of 30 stories 5 will be played each day.
[Dates] April 21st (Sat) – April 29th (Sun&Hol)
[Time] 13:00-17:30
18:00-22:00 (only on April 29th)
[Place] Mibudera Temple
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take JR bullet train to JR Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station take city bus for about 20min to Mibuderamichi Bus Stop. 5-min-walk.
[Admission] Adults… JPY800 / Students (middle – high school)… JPY600 /
Grade school students… JPY400
[Inquiry] 075-841-3381 (Mibudera)
[URL] http://www.kyoto.zaq.ne.jp/mibu/ (Mibu Temple)
>> Kyoto Prefectural Guide
Apr 28-29, 2007 | Hidaka Hibuse Festival
Oshu City / Iwate Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Hidaka Hibuse Matsuri)
Hidaka Hibuse Festival
Photo Courtesy of Oshu City Mizusawa Ward City
The Hidaka Hibuse Matsuri creates a beautiful scene in the Mizusawa area with gorgeous hayashi-yatai (festival music floats) representing each of the six neighboring towns in the area. Hibuse Matsuri is a 300-year-old festival and a ritual fore fire protection, and these six towns, copying after a fire-fighting system called “Edo Iroha-gumi” which developed in Edo (present day Tokyo) during Edo Period, each make offerings to Hidaka Shrine to pray for safety from fire accidents. Each hayashi-yatai is built in gold, vermilion and green decoration carrying 20-25 girls playing ohayashi music which is distinctively different from one town to another. The climax of the festival is the “aiuchi” performance on the second evening which the floats show a brilliant competition of traditional music.
[Dates] April 28 (Sat) – April 29 (Sun)
[Time] 4/28        around 15:00-21:00
4/29        around noon-21:00 (climax 19:00)
[Place] Centeral Mizusawa Area
Mizusawa Area, Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) Yamabiko to JR Ichinoseki Station and transfer to JR Tohoku Honsen. Get off at JR Mizusawa Station. 5 to 10-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0197-24-2111 (Hidaka Hibuse Matsuri Executive Committee)
[URL] http://www.city.oshu.iwate.jp/icity/
(Oshu City, Hibuse Matsuri information page, Japanese) gallant
(Iwate Prefecture Official Website, Japanese. Picture and movies available)
>> Iwate Prefectural Guide
 Apr 28 – May 6, 2007 | Kumamoto Castle 400th Anniversary Haru-Emaki
Kumamoto City / Kumamoto Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Chikujo 400-nen-sai <Haru-Emaki>)
”Haru-Emaki” is part of the year-and-a-half-long celebration festival of the 400th anniversary of Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan’s Three Great Castles including Nagoya Castle and Osaka Castle. During the Golden Week the festival hosts the visitors with a number of events the whole family can enjoy, including Yahata Festival (warrior labarum) and ninja action shows.

Kumamoto Castle Yahata Festival (Kumamotojo Yahata Matsuri)
April 28 (Sat) – May 6 (Sun) @ Higomaru
Numerous labarum with patterns of samurai warriors celebrating Boy’s Festival (“Tango-no-Sekku”; May 5th) will be decorate the spring scene as well as celebrate the 400th birthday of the Castle.

Ninja Action “The Castle of the Fire Country” (Hi-no-Kuni no Shiro)
April 28 (Sat) – May 6 (Sun) @ Higomaru Special Stage. Admission Free.
Several professional ninja actors entertain the audience with a 20-min-ninja action play.
[Dates] April 28th (Sat) – May 6th (Sun)
[Time] differs accordingly to each event
[Place] Kumamoto Castle
1-1 Honmaru, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From JR Tokyo Station take bullet train to JR Hakata Station and transfer to JR Super Express Ariake. Get off at JR Kumamoto Station and take tram bound for Kengun for about 15min. Get off at Kumamotojo-mae Stop. 10-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 096-359-0400 (400th Anniversary Executive Committee)
[URL] http://www.manyou-kumamoto.jp/castle/400/
(Kumamoto Castle 400th Anniversary Official Website, Japanese)
>> Kumamoto Prefectural Guide
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  • Yasunari Kawabata
  • Banana Yoshimoto
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