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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!
< March >
Jan 27 – Apr 15, 2007 | Sagae Girl's Doll Festival
Sagae City / Yamagata Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Sagae Hinamatsuri)
Sagae Hinamatsuri
A selection of gorgeous and beautiful hina (pronounced: hee-nah) dolls for girl’s festival celebrated on March 3rd are kept since the Edo Period, and will be displayed during February through April at three places in the City. First venue Jinonji Jin’ya (Japanese restaurant) will have an exhibition of “Dolls of Daimyo (feudal lord) Families and Merchants”, Second venue Cherryland Rinsentei “Dolls Festival at a Teahouse” and the third venue, “Dolls Festival at Sake Brewery”. At Furusawa Shuzo Sake Brewery, visitors are welcome to enjoy complimentary sake tasting.
[Dates] January 27 (Sat) – April 15 (Sun)
[Time] (All Day)
See below for detailed event schedule
[Place] (1) Ryotei Jionji Jin’ya (Jionji Jin’ya Restaurant)… 1/27-4/15
(2) Cherryland Rinsentei… 3/24-4/3
(3) Furusawa Shuzo Shiryokan (Furusawa Brewery Museum)… 3/24-4/3
Sagae City, Yamagata Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen (bullet train) to JR Yamagata Station. Then transfer to JR Aterazawa Line to Sagae Station. 15-min-taxi ride from station to Jionji Jin'ya.
  Jionji Jin’ya… Adults: JPY600 / Junior High & High School Students: JPY400
grade school and under… JPY300
Cherryland… Adults: JPY300 / Junior High & High School Students: JPY100
Furusawa Shuzo… admission free
[Inquiry] 0237-83-3380 (Sagae City Tourism Bureau)
[Official Websites (Top)]
(Sagae City Official Website, Hinamatsuri, Japanese)
Photos: Courtesy of Sagae City
>> Yamagata Prefectural Guide
Feb 25, 2007 | Kitano Tenmangu Plum Blossom Festival
Kyoto City / Kyoto Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Kitano Tenmangu Baikasai)
Commemorating the death of Sugawara-no-Michizane enshrined in Kitano Tenmangu as the god of studying, the cherry blossoms festival is held at Kitano Tenmangu on February 25th every year. Though the date is the death anniversary of the enshrined being and the ceremonies are carried out in an austere mood, the festival held in the ancient capital is crowded with thousands of visitors each time. Visitors are welcome to join (tickets sold in advance) or to have a look at the outdoors tea ceremony (nodate) held on the temple ground by geiko and maiko of Kyoto.
[Dates] February 25 (Sun)
[Time] 10:00 – 15:00
[Place] Kitano Tenmangu
Kamigyo-ku Bakurocho, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  Take bullet train from Tokyo Station to JR Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station take bus #50 or #101 and get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae bus stop.
[Admission] Nodate (tea ceremony participation)… JPY1,500
Plum garden entrance… Adults (7th grade and above): JPY500, Children: JPY250 (all tickets include a little snack)
[Inquiry] 075-461-0005 (Kitano Tenmangu)
[URL] http://www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp/eigo/index.html
(Kitano Tenmangu Official Website, English)
>> Kyoto Prefectural Guide
Mar 3, 2007 | 55th Yuzawa Hot Springs Snow Festival
Yuzawa Town / Niigata Prefecture
(Japanese Name: 55-kai Yuzawa Onsen Yukimatsuri)
Yuzawa Snow Festival
Photos: Courtesy of yuzawaonsen.gr.jp
Snow Candles   Snow Fireworks   Mikoshi
A big snow festival in the snow country – Yuzawa Onsen Yukimatsuri <Fantasy of Snow and Light> offers a variety of performances and shows related to snow and light from torch skiing, snow mikoshi, fireworks on snow, candle illumination, Miss “Komako” Congeniality, Yuzawa yukinabe (local stew), offerings of local sake liquor and amazake (sweet nonalcoholic sake) services.

>> Read more about Hot Springs in Niigata Prefecture
>> Winter sports in Yuzawa Snow Resorts (WLS)
[Dates] March 3 (Sat)
[Time] Yukimatsuri Opening… 9:30
Yukinabe (stew) Service… 18:30
[Place] Yuzawa Kogen Ski Resort Nunoba Gelande
490 Yuzawamachi Yuzawa, Minami Uonuma County, Niigata Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  Take bullet train from Tokyo Station to JR Echigo Yuzawa Station. 10-min-walk from Echigo Yuzawa Station.
[Admission] Depends on each service
[Inquiry] 025-785-5353 (Yuzawa Onsen Tourism Association)
[URL] http://www.town.yuzawa.niigata.jp/english/home.html 
(Yuzawa Town Official Website, English)
>> Niigata Prefectural Guide
Mar 3 – Mar 4, 2007 | Kusatsu Hot Springs Candle Girl's Doll Festival
Kusatsu Town / Gunma Prefecture
(Japanese Name: 2007 Kusatsu Onsen Candle Hinamatsuri)
Kusatsu Candle Hinamatsuri
Photo: Courtesy of Kusatsu Town and Y.Saito
Hinamatsuri – Girl’s Doll Festival – is held at all over Japan on this weekend but there are very few if not none besides Kusatsu, that have it with snow-made hina dolls. This handmade festival celebrating its 6th holding this year has more than one thousand candles and torches surrounding a huge tiered table of gigantic snow-made hina dolls. The candles will be lit at once at 20:00 on Saturday after the ceremony. Japanese drums performances as well as services of special ohinasama soup provided by the okamis (female managers of Japanese style hotels) and free services of amazake are scheduled.
[Dates]  March 3 (Sat) – March 4 (Sun)
[Time]  Candle light-up… 3/3 20:00-22:00
Kusatsu Onsen / Plaza in front of Nishinokawara Parking Lot
Kusatsumachi Kusatsu, Agatsuma County, Gunma Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
From JR Ueno Station take JR Super Express (Tokkyu) Kusatsu to JR Naganohara Kusatsu Station. From JR Naganohara Kusatsu Station take bus bound for Kusatsu Onsen and get off at final stop. 15-min-walk.
[Admission]   Free
0279-88-3722 (Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan Association)
>> Gunma Prefectural Guide
Mar 11 – Mar 25, 2007 | Grand Sumo March Tournament
Osaka City / Osaka Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Ozumo Sangatsu-Basho)
Ozumo, The Grand Sumo Tournament is held every other month at different places of Japan. The one tournament in March is held in Osaka at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium gathering as much audience as the ones held in Tokyo. If you happen to be around Osaka during these two weeks, this may be a good chance to go see a real professional sumo match – it’s not all year round that you can see these wrestlers crashing into each other…

>> Read more about Sumo: Special Report “Grand Sumo”
Grand Sumo
[Dates] March 11th (Sun) – March 25th (Sun)
[Place] Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
3-4-36 Naniwa-ku Nambanaka, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  Take bullet train from JR Tokyo Station to JR Osaka Station, then get to JR/Nankai Dentetsu Namba Station. 2-min-walk.
[Admission] see here
[URL] http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.html
(Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Home Page)
Grand Sumo
>> Osaka Prefectural Guide
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