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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 - Vol.2 >
Mar 1 – Mar 14, 2007 | Shunie (Omizutori)
Nara City / Nara Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Shunie aka Omizutori)
Todaiji Temple Shunie (Omizutori)
Photos: Courtesy of Tourism Section Nara Municipal Office
The tradition of Shunie (Omizurori) is said to have started back in 752 A.D. and has been carried out nonstop ever since. On the 12th at 1:30am Omizutori, the ritual of getting water to offer to the Kannon Bosatsu starts, and every night the torch light that led the members in charge of this role goes around the corridors of Nigatsudo Hall. It is said that being touched by the falling sparks of this torch fire brings happiness and safety for the year. Weekends and the 12th are especially crowded with visitors. Visitor entrance controlled on the 12th.
Shunie Shunie
[Dates] March 1 (Thu) – March 14 (Wed)
[Time] Omizutori… March 12 (Mon) 1:30am
[Place] Todaiji Temple
406-1 Zoshicho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Station take bullet train (JR Shinkansen) to Kyoto Station and transfer to Kintetsu Line. Get off at Kintetsu Nara Station. 20-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0742-22-5511 (Todaiji Temple)
[URL] http://www.todaiji.or.jp/index/hoyo/syunie-open.html
(Todaiji Temple Official Website Shunie Information Page, Japanese)
>> Nara Prefectural Guide
Mar 21, 2007 | Mayamoude
Kobe City / Hyogo Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Mayamoude)
The unique custom of the residents of the area bringing their horses to the temple on the Hatsuuma day of February on the lunar calendar, pray for their horses safety, dressing them with Japanese flower hairpin, and bringing back Maya-kombu (seaweed) dates back to Edo Period. Today, the event is carried out with horses brought from Rokkou Farm, offering nanohana (rape blossoms) and pray for safety.
[Dates] March 21 (Wednesday&Holiday)
[Time] 9:00-17:00 (Temple Hours)
[Place] Mayasan Tenjoji Temple
2-12 Mayasancho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen Nozomi (bullet train) to Shinkobe Station, transfer to Hankyu or Hanshin Line and get off at Sannomiya Station. From Sannomiya Station take bus #18 and get off at Maya Cable-shita bus stop. Take tram to Hoshinoeki. 10-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 078-861-2684 (Mayasan Tenjoji Temple)
[URL] http://www.mayasan-tenjoji.jp/
(Mayasan Tenjoji Temple Official Website, Japanese)
>> Hyogo Prefectural Guide
Mar 24, 2007 | New Fireworks Collection 2007
Daisen City / Akita Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Shinsaku Hanabi Collection 2007)
Omagari Fireworks
*Photos are of the Summer Competition
Young fireworks craftspeople are invited from all over Japan to show off their new designs and skills. The Collection will be focused on the competition of the smaller shells (10 shells 4-gou-dama and 5 shells of 5-gou-dama) which are said to require more skills than the larger ones. The real fireworks season is yet to come, but enjoy the early and innovative art of light and sound.
Omagari is also famous for the country's top quality fireworks competition in August.
(See: http://www.ldt.co.jp/hanabi/)
[Dates] March 24 (Sat) Omagari Fireworks
[Time] 18:30-
[Place] Omagari Family Ski Resort
Uchiotomo-Aza Nakazawa, Daisen City, Akita Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tokyo Station take JR Shinkansen Komachi (bullet train) to JR Omagari Station. 15-min-car/taxi-ride from Omagari Station.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0187-62-6887 (Omagari Hanabi Club)
[URL] http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand-Oak/4943/ 
(Omagari Hanabi Club Official Website, Japanese)
(About fireworks, English)
>> Akita Prefectural Guide
  Mar 24 – May 13, 2007 | World’s Number One Koinobori Festival
Tatebayashi City / Gunma Prefecture
(Japanese Name: Sekaiichi Koinobori-no-sato Matsuri)
Tatebayashi Koinobori
More than 5,000 koinobori (cloth carp) swims the sky of Tatebayashi City at four venues. The city and the festival had been approved as World Guinness Record in 2005 with a total of 5,283 carps streaming in the wind. The main venue is Tsurutagawa River, a 20-min-walk from Tatebayashi Station, and roughly 4,000 cloth-made carps are put up at this site alone. Other venues include Kondonuma Park, Tsutsujigaoka Park Inn and Morinji River. A stamp rally touring around all four sites can be enjoyed on May 5th.
[Dates] March 24 (Sat) – May 13 (Sun)
[Time] ------
[Place] Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture
[Access from Tokyo]
  From Tobu Asakusa Station take Tobu Line to Tatebayashi Station. 20-min-walk.
[Admission] Free
[Inquiry] 0276-72-4111 (Tatebayashi City Tourism Association)
>> Gunma Prefectural Guide
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