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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!
< February - Vol.2 >
Jan 27 – Feb 25, 2007 | Shurijo Castle Flower Festival
Naha City / Okinawa Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Shurijo Hana Matsuri)
The unique history and culture of the subtropical islands and Japan’s southernmost prefecture Okinawa is re-enacted and re-created at this festival of flowers. The large-scale plants and flowers monuments include Okinawa-only characters such as the shiisa (ornaments a legendary lion-like animal) and the Ryukyu King (Ryukyu is the old name of Okinawa when it was an independent kingdom). Additionally, there will be indigenous dances and parades performed in the native costume bingata, as well as special exhibitions including the orchid dolls displays.
[Dates] January 27th (Sat) – February 25th (Sun)
[Time] 9:00-18:30 (castle park business hours)
[Place] Shurijo Castle Park (Shurijo Koen) 1-2 Kinjo-cho, Shurijo, Naha City, Okinawa
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Haneda Airport take plane to Naha Airport, take Yui Rail from Naha Airport Station to Shuri Station. 15-min-walk.
[Admission] Free except for Bingata Exhibition and Orchid Dolls Exhibition
[Inquiry] 098-886-2020
(Shurijo Park Management Center)
[URL] http://www.shurijo.com/english/index.html
  (Shurijo Castle Official Website, English)
>> Okinawa Photo Gallery
>> Okinawa Prefectural Guide
Photo: Courtesy of Shurijo Castle Park Management Center
Hana Emaki
Orchid Dolls
Jan 27 – Mar 26, 2007 | Izu Oshima Camellia Festival
Oshima Town / Tokyo Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Izu Oshima Tsubaki Matsuri)
The Izu Oshima Camellia Festival is the biggest festival in Izu Oshima, the largest of the Tokyo Izu Seven Islands. Located 120 kilometers off the coast of Tokyo in the Pacific, the Izu Islands enjoy a warm climate throughout the year and from late winter to early spring Izu Oshima Island becomes brightly colored with nearly 3 million camellia flowers in about 500 breeds blooming at once. For two months the island hosts various events started with an opening of parades and dances performed by girls dresses in traditional local costumes.
[Dates] January 27th (Sat) – March 26th (Mon)
[Place] Oshima Park
Oshima Town (Oshima Island), Tokyo Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Takeshiba Sambashi) take ferry or jet boat to Oshima Island.
(Port to Park): take bus for 36 minutes to Oshima Koen, 0-min-walk from stop
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 04992-2-2177
(Oshima Town Tourist Association)
[URL] http://www.izu-oshima.or.jp/work/event/tsubaki2007/index.html
  (Oshima Tourist Association, Japanese)
Feb 6 – Feb 12 | 58th Sapporo Snow Festival
Sapporo City / Hokkaido Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Sapporo Yuki Matsuri)
Gigantic and dynamic snow sculptures of architectures from around the world, famous figures, popular characters, animals and more appear and create a snow & ice marvel land along the central street of the northern island’s capital. The snow festival which has become one of the most famous winter features with hundreds of participants and thousands of viewers of Japan was started by only a few high school students half a century ago. The artwork so fine that you ca360n hardly believe it is snow is lit up at night letting out a different touch of beauty.
Sapporo Yukimatsuri Odori
Photo: Courtesy of Sapporo City
[Dates] February 6th (Tue) – February 12th (Mon&Hol)
[Time] All Day
Main Street Illumination… sunset – 22:00
Sapporo Satoland… 9:00-17:00
Susukino… lights off at 0:00
[Place] Odori Koen (Main St), Sapporo Satoland, Susukino
Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Haneda Airport take plane to Shin-Chitose Airport (1.5hr) then take train into the city (Sapporo Station). The closest station to Chuo-dori venue is subway Odori Station. See website below for more details on transportaion.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 011-211-2376
(Sapporo Snow Festival Executive Committee)
[URL] http://www.snowfes.com/english/index.html
(Snow Festival Official Website, English)
>> Hokkaido Prefectural Guide
Feb 10 – Feb 11, 2007 | Odate Candy Fair
Odate City / Akita Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Odate Amekko-Ichi)
The Amekko-Ichi is a traditional local event that has a history of nearly 400 years, which started from the saying that eating candy this day would prevent catching colds for a year. Including the Shirohige Jungyo (“white-beard parade”) and a number of performances of folk entertainment, there will be various subevents related to (hard) candy. About a hundred street stalls selling a selection of candycraft line up along the street, attracting 200,000 tourists every year.
[Dates] February 10th (Sat) – February 11th (Sun)
[Time] Parade 2/10… 10:30- / 15:00-
Parade 2/11… 10:00- / 15:00-
[Place] Oshima Park
Omachi Chuo-Dori
Omachi, Odate City, Akita Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  from Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) Komachi to Akita Station (4hrs), than take Ou’u Honsen Line to Odate Station. 7-min-bus ride from Odate Station to Sakaemachi bus stop. 5-min-walk. (shuttle bus available for the weekend from JR Odate Station)
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0186-42-4360
(Odate Amekko Executive Committee)
[URL] http://ww2.city.odate.akita.jp/dcity/sitemanager.nsf/doc/amekkoichi?OpenDocument
(Odate City Official Website, Amekko-Ichi Information, Japanese)
>> Akita Prefectural Guide
Feb 9 – Feb 11, 2007 | Aizu Art Candle Festival
Aizu Wakamatsu City / Fukushima Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Aizu Erousoku Matsuri <Yukihotaru>)
For these three nights 7,000 Aizu Erousoku, traditional craft candles of Aizu with a history of 500 years softly and artistically light up Aizu Wakamatsu’s symbolic spots Tsurugashiro Castle and Oyakuen (Lord Matsudaira’s Garden). The warm and illusionary lights of the candles draw a huge picture on the ground creating an ephemeral atmosphere for viewers on the ground and providing a wonderful view for those viewing down from the castle tower. Other events such as displays on craft candle making and fireworks will be held as well.
Tsurugashiro Castle   Erousoku   Art Candle Festival
Photo: Courtesy of <Eyes, JAPAN (aizu.com)>
[Dates] February 9th (Fri) – February 11th (Sun)
[Time] 18:00 – 21:00 (last entry 20:30)
[Place] Tsurugashiro Castle & Oyakuen Garden
1-1 Outemachi, Aizu Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) Yamabiko or local line JR Tohoku Honsen to Koriyama Station and transfer to JR Ban’etsusaisen Line to Aizu Wakamatsu Station. From Aizu Wakamatsu Station take local bus for “Tsurugashiro-Iimoriyama loop” and get off at Tsurugashiro Kitaguchi bus stop.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0242-24-3000
(Aizu Wakamatsu Kanko Bussan Kyokai)
[URL] http://www.aizu.com/erousoku/index.html
(Aizu-Erousoku Matsuri Official Website, Japanese)
>> Fukushima Prefectural Guide
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