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Blast in Japan Summer 2006

Festivals and Fireworks in Tohoku & Hokkaido Region
– July Edition –

Iwanai Jinja Reitaisai (Iwanai Shrine Seasonal Festival)
The festival is heated with more than 180 stalls lining up on the shrine street for the Yoimiyasai (eve events) on the 7th, the mikoshi going around town on the 8th finished up by the climax event on the 9th of the mikoshi going out on the sea on a number of boats. The roads will be closed to traffic in the evenings with bonfires going on here and there in the town. Each year innumerous people come to appreciate the spectacular mikoshi parade of two grand mikoshi and the intangible cultural asset Iwanai Akasaka Yakko with nearly 400 marchers.
[Dates] July 7-9, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Iwanai town neighborhood
Iwanai-cho, Iwanai-gun, Hokkaido Prefecture
[Access] take JR line to Sapporo Station, get on a bus for 2.5hrs and get off at Iwanai
Terminal, 10-min-walk from the bus terminal
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0135-62-0143 (Iwanai Shrine)
[URL] http://www.town.iwanai.hokkaido.jp/iwanaikanko/play/event/festibal/i_jinjya/index.html
(Hokkaido Iwanai Town Department of Projects and Industry, Japanese)
(Iwanai Tourist Association, English)
Korakukan Kabuki Ohshibai
Korakukan owns the oldest opera house where you can still enjoy kabuki performance, and the actors will be the noble Nakamura Family (school) which have now spread their names wide across the world. Four very exciting yet dignified and sublime programs will be run by the popular actors of the day.
[Dates] July 7-9, 2006
[Time] depend on each program
[Location] Korakukan
2 Matsunoshita, Kosaka Kozan, Kosaka Town, Kazuno County, Akita Pref.
[Access] take JR line to Morioka Station (Iwate Pref.) and then take the highway bus for 80 min till you reach Kosaka Shogakko-mae bus stop (Kosaka Elementary School), walk for 10 mins.
class advanced door
Matsu Y11,000 Y12,000
Take Y8,000 Y9,000
Unresearved Y5,000 Y6,000
[Inquiry] 0186-29-3908 (Korakukan Kabuki Performance Planning Committee Office)
[URL] http://www.town.kosaka.akita.jp/kourakukan/kourakukan.htm
(Korakukan official web site, Japanese)
Towadako Lake Festival
During the festival there will be a number of water fireworks and star mines being fired as they show brilliant colors against the summer night sky at the same time as the sounds of the big fireworks echo around the surrounding mountains. There will be special carnival boats scheduled to cruise around the lake and a lakeside concert (regardless the weather).
[Dates] July 14-17, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] Yasumiya central plaza by Lake Towadako
Towada City, Aomori Prefecture
[Access] take JR line to Hachinohe Station, get on a bus for about 2h20min, get off at Towadako Station bus stop and walk for 5min.
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0176-75-2425 (Towadako National Parks Association)
[URL] http://www.town.kosaka.akita.jp/sangyou/
Tuzure Shrine Ohdaiko Matsuri (Grand Drums Festival)
Those interested in the Guiness approved world’s largest drum (ohdaiko) and its festival. Several ohdaiko will go around the neighborhood with a parade in prayer for good harvest for the year. The Yoimiya events on the 14th go from about 19:00 to 21:00, and the main festival on the 15th is from about 11:00 to 14:00.
[Dates] July 14-15, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] Tuzure Shrine and surrounding neighborhood
Akita City, Akita Prefecture
[Access] 7-min-taxi ride from JR Takanosu Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 0186-63-0111 (Ohdaiko no yakata)
[URL] http://www.city.kitaakita.akita.jp/kankou/taka-reitaisai.htm
(Kita Akita City tourism official web site, Japanese)
The 53rd Annual Sapporo Matsuri
Here is another long-running summer festival this time in the northernmost prefecture of Japan. Evening cooling gardens will open up in the neighborhoods of 2-10 chome (chunk of neighboring blocks) except for 3,4 and 9, and there will be special events as well especially on the big stage. There are also other summer festivals going on nearby during this time of year.
[Dates] July 21st through August 20th
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Ohdohri Koen (park) and other parts of central Sapporo City
Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture
[Access] just outside of subway Odori Station
[Admission] free
[Inquiry] 011-211-2376
(Sapporo Matsuri Planning Committee: Sapporo City Department of Tourism)
[URL] http://www.sweb.co.jp/kanko/natsu/
(Sapporo Summer Festival official web site, Japanese)
Aizu Tajima Gion Matsuri
Although Gion is a summer festivals that are being held in many parts of the country and the most famous and biggest one is undoubtedly the one in Kyoto, this is another Gion you can’t miss. The yatai are so big that they even have kabuki performances on top of the 4 yatai. The main even Nanahokai (parade) starts from early morning on the 23rd.
[Dates] July 22-24, 2006
[Time] depend on each event
[Location] Minami Aizu Town, Minami Aizu County, Fukushima Prefecture
[Access] just outside Aizu-Tajima Station: Aizu Tetsudo (railways)
[Admission] 0241-62-6200 (Minami Aizu Tajima Tourist Association)
[Inquiry] free
[URL] http://www.town.tajima.fukushima.jp/kankou/gionsai/gionsai.htm
(Minami Aizu County Tajima Town official web site, Japanese)
Today, there will be very few places in Japan where you can see people get into their ancestors’ armors, mount on horses and just run around a vast field. Soma Nomaoi is a national important intangible cultural asset which as been going on for more than one thousand years. The sight of about 500 warriors and horses running around is absolutely gallant and gorgeous.
[Dates] July 23-25, 2006
[Time] differ accordingly to each event
[Location] center of Soma City
Minami Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture
[Access] take JR line to Haranomachi Station, take the special (impromptu) bus from the station, get off and walk for 3 minutes
[Admission] basically free, although a fee of Y1,000 (adults) and Y500 (children) occurs when entering Hibarigahara Festival Grounds on the 24th (Festival Grounds on the 24th (2,000 per person for the gallery for a group of more than 5 members: reservation required)
[Inquiry] 0244-22-3046
(Soma-Nomaoi Committee: department of tourism, Minami Soma City)
[URL] http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~nomaoi/
(Soma-Nomaoi official web site, Japanese)
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